Vinny the Fly: The Phony Competition

The OBR's buzzing columnist talks to those in the know and lays it all out for you. Another must-read article from a columnist unafraid to cut right to the chase...

The misery of many, otherwise known as the Cleveland Browns, will be on stage for another rousing performance Sunday at 1:00 p.m. As is the custom in Cleveland, fans will be tailgating before the crack of dawn. This may be a good time to start binging, as watching this team can be more than a sober eye can handle. 

For weeks we have watched the team, up close and personal. We are past training camp, we are past the phony quarterback competition, and we are past the season opening debacle against the Pittsburgh Steelers

"Phony", "fake", "misleading", "a fraud"... those are all words used to describe something which was never intended. Here, we are describing the quarterback competition, the quarterback controversy, and the quarterback of the present. 

Lost yet? Don't worry, it gets better. 

If there is anyone who truly believes the quarterback competition and controversy between Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson was a true battle for the job, you may want to jump off this ship about here. The notion of a competition was formulated by the Cleveland Browns organization in the off-season, well before Frye and Anderson were lobbing footballs around, all in hopes that one might still be the next big thing in Cleveland football. 

Frye was told he was going to be the quarterback. He didn't hear this from Savage and Crennel in June - let's try a time prior to the college player draft. That's when Frye was told he was the quarterback of this team. As for Anderson, he was told he was going to be given the opportunity to play, and, if good enough, maybe he would supplant Frye. 

In the meantime, the front office of the Browns did absolutely nothing to upgrade the quarterback position. A feeble gesture was made regarding the availability of veteran Trent Green. The team even brought in the slightly battle-tested Marques Tuiasosopo, but he also landed in another area of the country.  

With numerous issues within the roster, keeping a focus on the quarterback competition would be a distraction to many. With an ongoing issue at the position and a new face waiting in the wings named Brady Quinn, a built-in excuse for continued failure and waiting for a competitive team was in place. The shortcomings of Savage and Crennel could be masked, due to the sub-par play of the quarterbacks, while other areas of the roster remained far from solidified. 

An easy sell job was to float the notion the team was in the market for a veteran quarterback. The Browns did this, and were never a serious player for a veteran signal-caller to help solidify the position. Why? Frye and Anderson were on the roster and the powers to be within the organization could use this as their crutch, and they couod be used as the reason why things started poorly. It would buy time for a general manager and head coach who were not on solid ground. 

Brady Quinn is the hope for the future. Fans will remain interested, because the young gun from Notre Dame and Ohio brings hope to a what seems like a hopeless situation. Why should Savage want the rookie rushed into battle? His prize gem is what makes the season intriguing, but he also is the one player that could turn the Savage/Crennel scheme into a shambles. 

Enough with the 11-day holdout talk. Enough with the 16-practice sessions he missed, let's begin to call this what it is. This organization does not want to jeopardize their future. This Browns team is not expected to complete for a division title and even the general manager of the organization notes this. The Cleveland offense is not an engine ready to run on all cylinders; watching the season opener was enough to note the issues the team currently has. A promising preseason enhanced hope for the future, especially when Mr. Quinn was on the field, although the organization made it their mission to discount his progress as being alright, against inferior talent. 

Throughout camp, the two veteran quarterbacks, Frye and Anderson wanted more reps, sought the opportunity to gain continuity with the receivers, the offense in general and especially in a new offensive scheme. With the two splitting the reps, neither play could ever gain the consistency, continuity, and sync up from those they were expected to lead. The head coach played the quarterbacks like a fiddle, stringing them along, which not only set back the play at the position, but for the entire offense, as the two are completely different types of players. 

Now, one week into the season, the Browns have traded an ill-prepared starting quarterback, and replaced him with yet another ill-prepared starting quarterback. They have elevated the future to the backup, and resigned Ken Dorsey to be the third quarterback.

For what it's worth, that's the same Ken Dorsey which the offensive coordinator did not want released, the quarterback of the future did not want released, and the quarterbacks coach didn't want released. 

So, why was he released? Basically, the organization left the quarterback spot in such a precarious position because they were completely uncertain and did not have a belief in either starter. Savage and Crennel will spew rhetoric in regards to competition and the plan, but it simply doesn't wash. 

This organization stripped Frye of his confidence.

Alright, he did not play well in many cases, but he was specifically informed he was going to get time to work with the offense in a stable environment, which turned out to be far from a reality. Frye did everything asked, everything except win. With the state of this organization, no quarterback could come in and win, not with the number of changes and issues involved.  

As Derek Anderson suits up and readies himself for the opportunity in prime time, he himself has to wonder what is in the cards for him. He was close to situation and knows the men in charge of the football operation have an agenda, a grand plan, the scheme to save their collective asses, as well as keep the hope of Browns fans alive... his name is Brady Quinn. 

You'll see him on the sideline, Number 10, but don't expect to see him in prime time anytime soon when the game is on the line. He might very well do the unexpected, lead this team and then we'll see the issues within the roster really magnified. 

Until next time,


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