Monday, October 24, 2005

The Morning After: Detroit

Lions 13, Browns 10
Record: 2-4

The cry has officially gone out in Cleveland: start Charlie Frye.
After the Browns offense managed three measly points in Sunday's loss to the lowly Lions, the season that was settling into a state of comfortable mediocrity two weeks ago is now spiraling toward disaster, bleeding losses unchecked like last year.
Take away the two-touchdown spasm in the fourth quarter against Chicago, and the Browns' offense has scored just four field goals in the past three games.
Since the bye week, Trent Dilfer has been lackluster save for the second half against the Bears. Against Detroit, he was terrible: 10-for-19 passing, less than 100 yards, and three interceptions (though one was off a deflection). It is easy to make a case for starting Frye, but I say don't. And it has nothing to do with fears of a Tim Couch redux.
Today's loss, and the Browns' inability to sustain any positive momentum in recent years, is a painfully clear indicator of just how many personnel moves Dwight Clark and Butch Davis botched during their tenures. This team is woefully undertalented, and no matter who is under center, the Browns are still going to be a bad team this year.
The only thing that can ultimately cure the losing are good drafts, trades and free agent signings by general manager Phil Savage each off-season.
Anyone who is wishing on a star that by placing the offense in the hands of Frye, some miraculous transformation will occur, is misplacing their hope. You want Dilfer in there because he is the even-tempered, tough-hide veteran who can take the bullet of manning this team during a transitional phase.
By benching Dilfer, you are saying that Dilfer is making the team bad. It's the other way around, mostly.
Putting Frye in the game will likely not change the Browns' record, somewhere between 4-12 and 6-10. All it will do is increase the possibility that Frye will get injured.
Why risk that in year one of a extensive rebuilding project? Remember just how bad the Browns were last year, and how much work Savage and Romeo Crennel faced when they took their respective jobs last winter.
Next year, with two Phil Savage drafts on the roster, might be the best time to hand the reigns to Frye. As long as the Browns have a team capable of losing a home game to the Lions, it is not the time to go to your purported quarterback of the future.

Up next: at Houston, Sunday, 1 p.m. ET.


Anonymous said...

I disagree. Charlie Frye should start as soon as possible. If a player is good enough, he does not need to sit out an entire year. Just take a look at Eli Manning and Ben R. A year of experience playing in the NFL has to be better than a year of sitting on the sidelines. I even started a website,, because Charlie really should start ASAP.

Zach said...

The difference, of course, is that Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning had multiple weapons on offense and teams that didn't have to be rebuilt from scratch.
Those of us in Cleveland ought to remember these names: Tim Couch, Eric Zier, Luke McCown.
I can't identify any long term positives that starting Frye would make.
It's not just Dilfer. It's the team itself.