Derry: Pick Your Headline

It's been an incredible 24 hours in the NFL, from amazing recoveries to amazing trades. Frank Derry offers his take on everything from medical miracles to cheating ex-Browns head coaches...

There were some incredibly interesting twists that took place off the field following the first weekend of football. Consider these headlines:

  • Browns quarterback Charlie Frye gets traded
  • Patriots head coach Bill Belichick gets caught cheating
  • Bill tight end Kevin Everett making an incredible recovery

How would you rate their importance?

Personally, I think the probability that Everett will likely be able to walk out of the hospital after what was initially thought to be a crippling spine injury far overshadows anything that has happened in the NFL this season or in the recent past.

The procedure to "freeze" the spinal column, thus minimizing the after-affects of the violent collision, is remarkable and unimaginable to someone like myself. I can't even figure out how one thermos can keep things both hot and cold, much less try to figure out how doctors can lower the temperature of the body to prevent long-term paralysis.

My hat goes off to researchers who have devoted a lifetime to make unbelievable scientific breakthroughs in the health field. Some day they will hopefully find a cure for all forms of cancer, but in the meantime I just marvel at the advances that have taken place.

Unfortunately, the tremendous news involving Everett was somewhat overshadowed by the other headlines which happened on the sixth anniversary of the World Trade Center catastrophe.

Nationally, Belichick took the spotlight when he became the focal point of cheating accusations brought on by the confiscation of a sideline camera being used to videotape the New England Patriots' defensive coaches giving their signals.   

Belichick, the former Cleveland Browns head coach, is a brilliant coach who has been lavished with praise for being able to get the most out of his players. Now, with the news that Belichick has been cheating, it is a little easier to understand the reason for his success.

Apparently the cheating has been taking place for quite some time, which is why Jets head coach Eric Mangini, a former assistant on Belichick's Patriots staff and a "gopher" while both were with the Browns, had his people watching New England's sideline to catch the thieves.

What's amazing is the fact it took this long for Belichick to get caught considering how many of his former assistants are now competing against him.  Could it be that those former assistants were attempting to do similar things until commissioner Roger Goodell issued his get-tough policy on cheating this past off-season?

One can only assume that Browns head coach Romeo Crennel, who was the defensive coordinator on Belichick's staff for several years, knew what his ex-boss was doing. If Mangini knew it, Crennel had to as well.

Mangini's Jets were one of the biggest surprises in the NFL last season, making the playoffs when most people had predicted a five or six-win season. Could it be that he used some of Belichick's tactics until Goodell issued his edict. Maybe Mangini figured that if he had to stop, he wanted to make sure that his former boss did likewise, thus resulting in the camera confiscation at halftime of the season-opener.

Based upon the performance of the Browns during Crennel's reign, it's hard to imagine that he attempted similar tactics. One thing for sure, the Browns certainly haven't been successful.

But if the Browns had been illegally spying, and they had made the playoffs the past two years as a result, would you be upset? Would you bash Crennel? Or would you praise him or doing everything in his power to turn things around?

There's an old saying that goes like this: If you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin'.

I have to imagine that victory-starved Browns fans, who are right now blasting Belichick, would be singing Crennel's praises if Cleveland had turned around their fortunes the way the Jets did a year ago.

Now, onto the headline all Browns fans are talking about: Charlie Frye gets traded to Seattle for a sixth-round draft choice after opening-game debacle.

The fact he lost his job after just one game tells me the Browns are indeed serious about getting things turned around. No longer will excuses be made for poor performances. Hopefully, this will send a message out to all of Frye's former teammates. Perform or be gone.

The fact general manager Phil Savage waited until after the opener to make the trade was very bad timing on his part. But had he waited or another four or five weeks to do the inevitable, it would have been much worse.

Now, Brady Quinn, while he's standing on the sideline, can converse with his mentor, Ken Dorsey, who was brought back when Frye was traded. Dorsey can explain things to Quinn that should be addressed immediately. This is the way it should have been from the get-go if indeed the team doesn't want to throw Quinn into the fire for several more weeks. 

Plus, it needs to be pointed out that Dorsey should be able to help Derek Anderson as well. While everyone knows Anderson is just keeping the quarterback seat warm until Quinn is deemed to be ready, he will be expected to give the Browns a chance to win. Having Dorsey as a sounding board could make that difficult task a little more realistic. 

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