Next year will have true competition between quarterbacks (and friends) Dilfer and…
Derry: Bruised and Battered
The Minnesota Vikings list Pat Williams' weight at 317 pounds. And his right leg reportedly weighs in at 310. There's no telling how big his belly is. The Vikings undoubtedly don't weight that part of his anatomy for fear of breaking their meat scale. Folks, Williams, a defensive tackle, makes William "The Refrigerator" Perry look like a midget wrestler. To list him at 317 is an insult to the intelligence of anyone who sees him dwarf offensive linemen who legitimately weigh in the 300-plus pound range. Williams is so big and so strong that by the time Browns head coach Romeo Crennel walked over to the bench early in the fourth quarter and told Trent Dilfer he was putting Charlie Frye in for the next series, the veteran Browns quarterback nodded in agreement and probably wished he could head right to the locker room and start icing down his body. The final score of 24-12 was actually a lot closer than the game itself. Only a 9-yard touchdown pass from Dilfer to Dennis Northcutt with a little over a minute to play kept the score respectable. Williams and company, who have now won four straight games, treated Dilfer like a red-headed step-child. They pounced on him to the tune of five sacks and pounded him with many, many hits just as he was releasing the ball. He spent more time running than a faulty toilet. A hit to Dilfer's right knee left him with a noticeable limp starting early in the second half. Late in the game it looked like he also injured his left wrist. In reality, it would probably be easier to list the body parts that weren't bruised and battered. That's one big reason why you didn't hear Dilfer complain this week about being yanked out of the game. It was well-documented that after Crennel decided to give Frye a couple of series against Miami the previous week, Dilfer was quite upset and let his feelings be known to the media. This time, there was no such outburst. Unfortunately for Dilfer, Frye's "series" consisted of one play, an interception by Darren Sharper that led to a Vikings touchdown. If there was any doubt as to the outcome, the 2-yard touchdown pass from Brad Johnson to Marcus Robinson erased those. After his interception, Frye spent the rest of the day on the sideline. Let's just say it was bad day at the office for Frye, but at least he didn't have to put up with the physical abuse that Dilfer did. I'm not the biggest Trent Dilfer fan, but I have to tip my cap to him. The guy showed Bernie Kosar-like guts. He'd get slammed to the ground and come back for more. All the pressure on Dilfer did lead to several turnovers. Twice Dilfer had the ball knocked out of his hand with the Vikings recovering both times. He also tossed two interceptions, only one of which was on his shoulders. At least two other passes should have been intercepted but were dropped by Viking defenders. "You can't turn the ball over like that and expect to have a chance to win," Crennel said after a lengthy cooling off period after the game. The offensive line had a pitiful performance. That could be blamed in part on the absence of guard Joe Andruzzi (knee) and the fact a couple others starters were banged up. But it also could be that Dilfer had to hold onto the ball a little bit longer as the game plan had him looking to hit the Vikings with deep passes to Braylan Edwards and Antonio Bryant. Unfortunately, the Vikings were going with double coverage on both guys and that, combined with the terrific pass rush, led to the constant pounding of Dilfer. When Edwards and Bryant did get open, they had trouble hanging onto the ball. In fact, Edwards, who has been complaining about not getting the ball enough, for the second straight game allowed a ball to bounce off his body and be intercepted. The double coverage on Bryant allowed Frisman Jackson to have an excellent day as he tied for the team high with five receptions. Jackson has been pretty much a non-factor in recent games. And the defense had a very mediocre day, several times appearing to get caught in blown coverages. Robinson took advantage by scoring three touchdowns. After a magnificent defensive performance against the Dolphins, racking up their first shutout in nearly four years, reality hit home against a veteran quarterback of Johnson's stature. The Vikings also capitalized on several short fields, the result of the Browns' turnovers. But if you look closely, there were a couple of shining moments for the Browns. Josh Cribbs continues to do an outstanding job on kickoff returns. He looks like he'll be capable of handling those duties for a long, long time. And outside linebacker Chaun Thompson looks like he really is fitting very well into the Browns' 3-4 defense. When he was selected by the Browns in the second round out of West Texas A&M in 2003, there were a lot of eyebrows that were raised. Not even Thomson ever thought he was going to be picked that high. But then-head coach Butch Davis saw a lot of raw potential. At that point in time, speed was Thompson's No. 1 asset. Now, Thompson continues to have outstanding speed, but also is learning the game and made a couple of very nice plays against the Vikings. Combined with inside linebackers Andra Davis and Ben Taylor, both of whom have been having a productive season, the Browns look to be pretty well set at those spots. Finally, as usual, Reuben Droughns had another good day, even though he became a non-factor once the Vikings built a big lead. Droughns finished with 73 yards on 19 carries and now needs just 59 yards to reach the 1,000 yard mark. That should happen next Sunday at home against Jacksonville. Barring injury, Droughns should finish with the most yards for a Browns running back since Mike Pruitt had 1,294 yards in 1979.
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