The Browns’ offseason would not be complete without controversy at the
This year is no exception with the dramatic departure of former starter Trent Dilfer, whose exodus propelled Charlie Frye into the starting position. It also
left the Browns with the most inexperienced group of quarterbacks in the
National Football League.
The Browns currently have five quarterbacks on their roster. Of the five,
only Frye and Ken Dorsey have taken a snap in an NFL game. They have just 15
starts between them. The situation becomes magnified when you consider the
punishment taken by Browns quarterbacks since their return in 1999.
Frye quickly learned what life is like as the Browns’ starting quarterback
when he was sacked 24 times in just five starts. In those games, he had very
little support. Four of the starting offensive linemen were out with injuries or
playing through injuries. The rushing attack was also abysmal, averaging just
three yards and failing to produce a touchdown.
Despite the negatives surrounding the rookie quarterback, Frye managed to win
two of the final three games. He also put together solid performances in losses
to the Cincinnati Bengals and Jacksonville Jaguars.
The main concern with Frye is the number of hits, as well as sacks, he has
taken. Twenty-four sacks in five games equates to 77 sacks over a full season.
He does have a quick release and exceptional mobility. The sacks are a result of
indecision and trying to do too much.
Fye should show a dramatic improvement in these areas through game
experience, a better comfort level within the offense and adjusting to the speed
of the NFL. He also will have an improved receiving corps with the return of
Kellen Winslow Jr. and arrival of Joe Jurevicius. His protection has also
improved with Pro Bowl center LeCharles Bentley and up-and-coming left tackle
The backup quarterback situation has to be of great concern. The door is
still open for a more experienced quarterback to join the team before training
camp opens, especially if Dorsey struggles to impress the coaching staff.
I believe it is imperative to have a veteran quarterback sharing his
knowledge with the young quarterback. In addition to the experience a vet would
bring, this team does not want to be in the thick of a playoff race only to have
the season thrown away due to no viable backup.
Dorsey is the early favorite to be No. 2 behind Frye, but he has a couple of
glaring issues. He is an effective passer in the short to intermediate game, but
his deep ball ducktails, which gives opposing safeties plenty of time to break
on the ball. He is not very effective in poor weather conditions, which he will
face constantly in the AFC North. Going back to his college days at Miami, he
had the label of "Fair Weather Quarterback."
Lang Campbell is coming off an up and down year in NFL Europe. He is familiar
with the Browns’ offense and looked very good in training camp last year. He
lacks ideal height for an NFL quarterback. This was an issue in preseason last
year and in NFLE this year. Even more of a concern is his poor decision making.
There is no excuse for throwing the ball among three defenders on first down
when inside the 20. He will have difficulty in making the roster.
Derek Anderson earned the No. 3 spot on last year’s depth chart. He will have
that comfort level with the offensive scheme. He possesses very good size and
tremendous arm strength. He might become a solid NFL quarterback, but is still a
He negates his tremendous size with a sidearm delivery that is just as likely
to hit his own linemen as it is to hit the receiver. And his overall mechanics
are seriously lacking. This is the reason for his high interception ratio in
college. The Browns will have to decide if Anderson is worth the long-term
investment in developing.
Darrell Hackney is one of the most interesting young quarterbacks on the
roster. His one glaring negative: He is only 5-11. It is becoming almost
impossible for the short quarterback to make it in the NFL, but he has a very
good chance to make this team.
He has an incredibly strong arm with outstanding accuracy. His completion
percentage would have been much higher in college if his receivers had better
hands. He has exceptional mechanics as he throws a crisp, tight spiral and is
just as effective throwing a 40-yard pass as he a 5-yard slant. He has a high
delivery that negates some of his height concerns.
Hackney shows exceptional poise in the pocket, can move within the pocket and
will step into throws as he is being hit. He might be the second-best
quarterback on this roster and will provide stiff competition for not only the
third quarterback, but he could push Dorsey as the primary backup.