Training camp in an event of the past, preseason games have come and gone. The 53-player roster has been set and preparation for the Pittsburgh Steelers is at the forefront. Offensively challenged in recent seasons, the Browns look to pull a fast one on not only the Steelers, but the entire National Football League.
While the great debate at quarterback resides within the Browns organization, Charlie Frye appears to be poised to get the first crack at the starting role. Frye, having played under numerous offensive coordinators and in offensive schemes, going back to his days at Akron, again will be the first contestant in the firing line.
Frye has displayed the ability to lead the team on occasion during the preseason, though the results were mixed. He did show command and an understanding of the offensive scheme, but where Frye gets himself into trouble is when he tries to do too much.
Frye depends on his legs to get himself out of trouble. Over the past two seasons, the below average performance of the offensive line and offense in general, did Frye no justice. Picking up bad habits during this time, Frye has worked diligently to correct flaws, such as turning his back to the play, breaking off the play/recognition too early, and ill-advised pass attempts. When attempting to put a little extra on the ball, Frye tends to float far too often, especially when he is attempting to get the ball downfield, which leads to potential turnovers.
With a solid rushing attack to relive pressure off Frye, the Browns offense will be competitive and balance time of possession out, which will also be beneficial to the defense.
Derek Anderson is the number-two quarterback and could see playing time, as the organization appears divided as to who should be the starter. Playing last season after Frye was injured, Anderson provided a spark to the offense, but is far from a polished product.
Inconsistency marred Anderson this summer, when he was expected to grasp the starting role and he has yet to fully recover. When playing with confidence, Anderson can be dangerous, due to his powerful arm. But, Anderson tends to rely too heavily on his arm, which turned into interceptions and poor decisions late in the 2006 season by the quarterback.
During training camp and early preseason games, Anderson appeared to struggle with blitz and coverage recognition, but improved significantly as preseason wore on. Very mechanical and slow footed under center, many in the Browns organization believe he is a better prospect than Frye.
The number-three quarterback on the roster is rookie Brady Quinn. Quinn a product of the pro-style offensive system at Notre Dame under head coach Charlie Weis has been battling to gain ground in training camp, following his training camp holdout. Despite the holdout, Quinn quickly showed he has the goods to compete at the professional level and was realistically challenging Frye and Anderson for quality practice time by the time camp concluded.
Quinn's experience in the pro-style offense was evident as he became increasingly comfortable as camp progressed and he became familiar with the receivers and offensive terminology. While not possessing the cannon-like arm strength of Anderson, Quinn throws with far better than average velocity, his touch passing showed marked improvement, and consistency, a knock against him when coming out in the draft has been solid.
What makes Quinn so intriguing in the early going, his command and presence while on the field. His level of confidence is very high and his desire to lead and win provides a visual sense of hope for the organization.
Heading into the 2007 season, the quarterback position for the Browns is open for the taking. Frye and Anderson have the opportunity to lead the team, as Brady Quinn is not going to be rushed into action, as the offense forges ahead under the tutelage of new offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski.
Time will tell how improved the Browns offense will be. As for Quinn, as general manager Phil Savage noted, when it is time for Quinn, there is no turning back. As for Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson, they better take advantage of their time now, because Brady time is coming, none to soon.