The Cleveland Browns feel like 2007 will be the turning point in their development into becoming a force again in the National Football League. For the past seven seasons since coming back to the league in 1999, the Browns have mostly been push overs by the rest of the league, and the other teams in the division have feasted on the Browns being mostly inept year after year. The organization is counting on 2007 to be different, and that tone was set on draft day, when the team snagged tackle Joe Thomas early in the draft and then made an aggressive move by moving up and getting Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn.
Now though, the real work begins. The team has been holding OTA’s recently, and the big storyline has been the QB spot, which currently belongs to Charlie Frye, who was the starter last season as well. Frye, despite being one of the worst starters last season, feels that even with the drafting of high profile Quinn, it’s his job until poor play allows Quinn to move into the starting lineup. He knows that poor play could provide a quick hook and that Quinn is the player all Browns fans want to see take the field in Brown and Orange. “When I envision this year, I don’t see myself having a so-so year,” Frye said to ClevelandBrowns.com. “The bar has been raised.”
And so it begins. The biggest story in training camp this season will be just how quickly Quinn develops, and how long it will be till he can take the position from Frye. Both QB’s were not very good in their first few days of OTA’s, but Frye says it’s not about now, but about September 9th, when the team takes the field opening day at home vs the rival Steelers. “In my mind, I’m just preparing like I’m going to be out there against the Steelers in Game One,” Frye said. “I don’t think (Crennel) hands jobs to anybody. He’s a very fair coach. The best player will play.”
It had to be tough on draft day for Frye, as when the team took Thomas, he had to feel a sense of relief that the team passed on Quinn. Then as the day went along and Quinn was still on the board, you had to wonder what went through Frye’s mind when eventually the Browns made the deal to get back in the round to take him. There were some rumblings that Frye’s name was thrown out for trade consideration after the team got Quinn, but no one really came up with much of a serious deal. Frye says through it all, he was prepared for the team to bring in competition at the QB spot. “I kind of figured they were going to bring (another quarterback) in, either a rookie or a veteran guy,”Frye said. “But my whole offseason I’ve challenged myself and been preparing hard to put myself in the best situation to have success.”
Frye and Quinn will play nice for the remainder of the OTA’s and into training camp, but you know that in the back of each of their minds its all about competition, and whoever eventually is under center is going to be the envy of the other. This despite some of the comments from Frye about trying to work together. “I know what I have to do, and I’m working to get it done,” he said. “Brady is my teammate. I’m gonna help him out. Just a couple years ago I was a rookie and I remember how hard it was trying to get ready to play, just putting yourself in position to play. We’re going to work together and just take it from there.”
In the end, Frye will be the teams starter, but if the Browns get off to a slow start, which has been the teams case for the past few years, fans will push every button possible to try and get their new hero – Quinn, in the lineup. Only a fast start by Frye and hie team can avoid that story from playing out.