Leave it to Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Terry Pluto to provide another captivating editorial, this time regarding center LeCharles Bentley. If you're sick of hearing about Bentley, don't worry -- I can almost guarantee you'll enjoy reading this. I will highlight one of Pluto's points, which was brought up by a few of my readers several days ago:
So fans wondered why the Browns didn't try to trade him. Missing two full seasons and with his medical history, he has little value. Rather than hold up Bentley or limit him finding the right situation, they believed the fairest approach was the release. Some of the best, most cordial meetings, between Bentley and the Browns came during his final few days because it was now clear: Both parties had moved past each other.
The general vibe that Pluto presents is that the Browns didn't want a discontent player in camp. The staff now has the time to focus their attention on more important issues, like how we're going to move forward at the cornerback position. Also, consider the following if you're an opposing team:
- Teams still covet draft picks, and the Browns were the only team that had a clear view of Bentley's progression. How do other teams know that he won't suffer another serious injury the first time he takes part in team drills?
- Yes, players are always required to pass a physical before a trade is complete. For an injury that was as serious as Bentley's was, it's hard to say whether or not that assessment could be made in such a short period of time.
- When Bentley clearly told the Browns "it's over", that pretty much signified we were going to release him at some point. Teams would then have the opportunity to bring him in for more tests, interviews, etc.
- Chances are, Bentley's not going to want a bare-minimum contract if he's publicly stating that he's a definite starter. In a trade, I'd have to believe that he would've wanted his contract restructured. That process could take awhile -- did the Browns really want to be worried about that?
- The backlash from the fans surely would've been more extensive if we kept Bentley on our roster until we found a suitor in a trade. Knowing that Bentley sounded quite arrogant, the discussion for several weeks amongst fans after his meeting with Phil Savage would've been comparable to when everyone was asking "when are we going to ditch Kenny Wright already?" Now, it's blown over, and we can focus exclusively on upcoming training camp competition.
Pluto also provided some interesting statistics regarding quarterback accuracy in mini-camp:
A year ago in the OTAs and minicamp, Anderson and Quinn were completing 60-65 percent of their passes in drills, etc. Ken Dorsey was tops in the low 70s. They all struggled to learn the new offense. Now, Anderson is in the high 70s, Quinn approaching 75 percent along with Dorsey.
This shouldn't be too surprising, because familiarity with anything should pay dividends over time. On the same note, I'd be curious to see Charlie Frye's progression numbers from the Maurice Carthon days. Would they have improved 10-15% like Anderson's (or Quinn's) did?
A little personal (and football) note here: I'm currently working on developing a PHP script that will allow users to record their picks for the upcoming NFL season, complete with standings and such. I've used a paid provider for my PFCritics contest the past several years, but as programming becomes more familiar to me, I figured I might as well make my own.
I have the fundamental database sections completed, as well as the user registration and picks sections. I still have a lot of admin interface and template work to focus on, but if anyone is interested in helping me as a beta tester (voluntary) whenever I get to that point, send me your email address and I'll contact you at that point.