Greetings from Cleveland Browns Stadium, section 119. Before we look back at last Saturday's matchup between the Browns and the Lions, let's take a look back at some reader mail from last week.
It's amazing really. Write critical pieces on the Cavs or the Indians and nary a word is spoken in their defense. People will remain silent about a lot in this town. They'll say nothing about the job markets drying up, the crime level rising, taxes going through the roof or the slow and steady death of the Flats and the city itself. But criticize the Browns and.......well.... let's go to the tape.
The following is one of the many responses I received after the "Send in the Clowns" piece hit the site last week. Many more emails were supportive than were critical in regard to my thoughts on the abysmal QB play of Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson. This is one of the latter with the author's last name deleted to protect the clinically incorrect.
Mr. McPeek, I'm not sure what game you watched, or how you acquired a job that supposedly requires some skill or judgement, but even if I overlook your grammatical errors I can't make it past what an idiot you are. Frye was 12-15 for 122 yds and a QB rating of over 100. I know that sensationalism and negativity sells, but I PROMISE you that I will never click on a link of an article that is authored by you. And actually, I have a lot more to say, but I feel it would be wasted on a moron like yourself. One thing though, no "fan" wants to read how miserable you think our QB situation is. Especially when it's reported in such an inaccurate and clumsy manner after ONE preseason game. You suck and I mean it, so please take it to heart.
Eric Now, pay no mind to the fact that the guy who criticized my grammar misspelled ‘judgment' and misused the word ‘yourself'. That's fine and dandy, if not hypocritical and ridiculous.
But what is outstanding is that Eric found the play of Frye not only acceptable, but apparently laudable and worth defending. Hell, he found it worthy of taking time away from his busy, productive day to actually email me. All that despite the fact that one game was not the basis of my opinions. For as I recall, neither Anderson nor Frye garnered much all-pro buzz last season but instead bumbled and stumbled through 16 games.
But to Eric I say "Thank You".
I appreciate your passion and your commentary, no matter how misplaced and misguided your take on the QB situation is. And to you, sir, I offer Saturday, August 18, 2007 as the only defense necessary to your opinions. Unless you have the time and inclination to watch last season's miserable efforts as well.
I hope you DVR'd or taped Browns-Lions game sir. And I humbly direct you to review the first half. How'd you enjoy the efforts of Frye and Anderson (rhymes with ‘And-Yer-Done')?
Looked a lot like Browns-Chiefs and last year in regard to turnovers, time management and points scored, no? Stay hot with your takes Eric.
On to the ballgame this past Saturday night.
It was good to see Frye and Anderson pick up where they left off against the Chiefs. You have to admire their consistency. And they were directly responsible for ensuring the kick-off return team received plenty of game action and practice time together this past Saturday evening. Anderson looked dreadful from literally his first play (a fumble on the first play of the game) to his last. He outdid the weekly Frye interception with the fumble and an interception of his own. The Anderson interception capped off an impressive couple of minutes of field generalship as it followed two timeouts sandwiched around a delay of game penalty.
Frye's interception aside, he did show us an uncanny ability to hook-up with Braylon Edwards 5 yards out of bounds on a couple of occasions.
At no time did either Frye or Anderson exhibit the poise and control that Brady Quinn did. Admittedly, his success came against reserves and roster hopefuls. But his poise and ability to progress through his reads, find his check down receivers and deliver his throws accurately were a welcome change from the foibles of the starting candidates. Quinn owned the huddle, moved his team efficiently and managed the game and clock as well as you could reasonably expect a rookie (or anyone else) to do. Four of his incompletions came on clock-stopping spikes and he hung in the pocket until he had no other option. He exhibited a strong arm and a willingness to take exactly what the defense gave him.
The excitement he generated was palpable as well as welcome. He left the fans wanting and demanding a larger role and more opportunities for him in the final two exhibition games.
Head Coach Romeo Crennel can say what he wants to and what he has to in regard to who will start the season at QB. His seeming indifference to Quinn's success is to protect Quinn and the rest of the QBs and is expected, if not entirely accurate. But Quinn answered the challenge Saturday night and Romeo will be hard-pressed to keep Quinn in the shadows if Frye and Anderson continue to struggle.
The rest of the squad is really hard to judge on Saturday's performance given the struggles of the QBs and the situations those struggles forced the offense and the defense into Saturday evening. Certainly, the defense needs to be more effective in defending the run. Both Tatum Bell and T.J Duckett consistently slashed and ran through the Browns' defense. Duckett also found some easy yards on dump-offs from Lions QBs.
The offensive line was out of sorts at times with numerous false starts and holding calls making the going all the more difficult. Despite those difficulties, the play of the backs continued to impress. Jamaal Lewis, Jason Wright and Jerome Harrison all ran well. Wright and Harrison also combined for 9 catches and 98 yards receiving.
The bottom line is the team as a whole continues to show signs of life. Right up to the time Frye or Anderson kill whatever momentum the offense generates and right up to the time their mistakes put the defense into difficult positions.
And a head coach whose job is on the line can't allow that to continue too long. Especially if Quinn continues to show he's a viable option to lead the club.