Monday, November 06, 2006

Charlie Frye Bashing

Now that Maurice Carthon's head has been delivered to us on a platter, Charlie Frye seems to be emerging as the scapegoat du jour for the Browns' offensive woes. In recent weeks, there has been a rising chorus of Frye bashing, and some of it is plainly justified. Frye's habit of refusing to give up on a play that's going nowhere has cost the Browns dearly this season, with the fumble that led to San Diego's first touchdown yesterday being only the latest example. There's a fine line between competitive fire and plain old immaturity, and I think Frye crosses that line pretty regularly.

The conventional wisdom is that many fans look at Frye as a hometown boy made good, and expect him to be some sort of reincarnation of Bernie Kosar. If that's the case, I guess you can count me among those who haven't drunk the Kool-Aid, because I don't see anywhere near the on-field savvy that Kosar possessed early in his career. On the other hand, you can also mark me down as somebody who still thinks that Charlie Frye has the potential to be a good NFL quarterback, as well as somebody who thinks that some of the recent criticism being voiced about the guy is simply unfair.

The comments from the two meatheads who broadcast yesterday's game provide a case in point. Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker harped constantly on Frye's supposed habit of "locking onto" receivers. Within minutes of the end of yesterday's game, their insights were being treated as received wisdom in the Internet's echo chamber, and touted as evidence of Charlie Frye's incompetence.

I disagree. At this stage in Frye's career, I think staring down receivers is mostly evidence of the fact that he's a young quarterback with a lot to learn, and I'll cite Ray Lewis as my authority. Shortly before the last game between the Browns and the Ravens, Lewis talked about the way the Ravens feasted on inexperienced quarterbacks. Lewis noted that they were able to do this in part because "most young quarterbacks don't know how to read the whole field or scan defenses." That comes with enough time on the job and, just as importantly, enough time in the pocket to do the job. Frye's got neither of those things.

To me, Bud Shaw's take on the Browns' QB situation in this morning's Plain Dealer puts the blame where it belongs--squarely on the shoulders of Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel. They're the guys who dealt away a veteran QB (granted, a stiff, but a veteran stiff) and left the Browns with nobody to help groom Frye or to take his place if need be.

Frye's struggling, the Browns are paying for it, and Savage and Crennel have only themselves to blame. You'd have thought that the overwhelming success of the Browns' efforts to destroy Tim Couch would've taught this organization how not to handle young QBs, but apparently that's a lesson that each new regime has to learn on its own.


Ms. Anotop said...

Seems no one on the Browns had Frye's back after that ferocious late hit on Sunday...where was our solider, K2? or any other Browns player? Our players resemble our coach - dispassionate and unsure of themselves.

Dwayne_Rudds_Helmet said...

I've decided that I focused too much on the negative after our loss. Probably especially so with Frye.

However, I know that my criticism wasn't so much meant as "Since Frye is doing this wrong, I want a new QB". It was more "Frye is doing this wrong, and we need to work on fixing it, and if we can't fix it, we'll need a new QB".