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Browns' Training Camp Preview: Quarterbacks

No position on the Browns has more competition heading into training camp than at quarterback, making it a perfect position to kick off our training camp coverage for the 2007-2008 season. The competition really began last season, when Derek Anderson scampered up the sideline against the Kansas City Chiefs for an amazing 33-yard run in overtime. Anderson put himself on the map, much like Kelly Holcomb once did for the Browns. Charlie Frye isn't going to give up his starting role from last season without a fight though, and that's exactly what we have heading into camp. The dark horse is of course Brady Quinn, an individual whom the Browns happened to select in the first round of the draft.

STARTING QUARTERBACK - CHARLIE FRYE

Charlie Frye
Height: 6-4
Weight: 217
Exp: 3 years
Sometimes, the value of a quarterback is underestimated. If you take a look at Frye's overall statistics from last season, they do not look pretty at all: 17 interceptions to only 11 touchdowns over 13 games. The turnover ratio is not appealing, but the way in which it was derived is worth considering. Not including the game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Frye won three games as a starter. Let's take a look at two of those victories: one against the Atlanta Falcons, and the other against the New York Jets. In both of those games, Frye only threw the ball 22 times, with both instances representing low marks in that category for the season. The reason a quarterback has minimal attempts throwing the ball usually results from a reliable running game and an average-at-best offensive line.

The Browns have improved their offensive line and running game to the point where Frye deserves another chance to prove himself. He was sacked 44 times in only 13 games, which often forced him into desperation efforts. The X-factor for Frye is his mobility, which was displayed brilliantly before he went down with an injury against the Chiefs. I still have faith that if Frye's pass attempts are kept to a minimum per game, his mobility will open up more opportunities for the offense than Anderson can provide. In a best case scenario, Frye would thrive off of the Drew Brees syndrome and create a much more pleasant quarterback controversy for the future: which good quarterback do you start?

BACKUP QUARTERBACKS - DEREK ANDERSON, BRADY QUINN

Derek Anderson
Height: 6-6
Weight: 230
Exp: 3 years
There's no questioning that Anderson did a much better job than Frye did at knowing when to get rid of the ball to prevent a sack last season. However, despite the fact that Anderson may perform better than Frye behind a poor offensive line, I believe the edge shifts back to Frye with an offensive line that has added Eric Steinbach, Joe Thomas, and possibly LeCharles Bentley into the starting unit. Anderson earned an opportunity at the starting job from his efforts last season, but unless he has improved his accuracy, he will be nothing more than a backup in the league. Although he actually displayed control on most of his passes, there were still a good amount of throws that he lost grasp of. If that's a recurring issue as a starter, opposing defenses will catch on, and I fear that too many solid offensive drives would be stopped as a result of one misthrow.
Brady Quinn
Height: 6-3
Weight: 235
Exp: Rookie
Quinn has the tools to be a starting quarterback, but it's rare these days that a rookie starts off immediately. Some of the most successful quarterback transitions have occurred over several seasons of learning, including the progression of guys like Carson Palmer and Philip Rivers. Quinn may be stuck in a lengthy holdout as well, which will remove any remote chance that he would have had to being our quarterback to begin the season.

RELEASED - KEN DORSEY

Ken Dorsey
Height: 6-4
Weight: 220
Exp: 5 years
Dorsey is a long shot to make this team, but it's necessary to have him in camp in case anything happens to Frye or Anderson. If one of them were to get injured or get traded, Dorsey would probably be the backup quarterback to start the season, even ahead of Quinn. Dorsey hasn't shown anything overly impressive in the past to make it ahead of any of the three men above, and I don't expect that to change.

Tomorrow, we continue on the offensive side of the ball as I'll analyze the running backs and fullbacks.