July 31, 2014

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Brian Dulik column: Browns’ Frye takes lead in QB battle

There has been so much hype about rookie Brady Quinn over the past four months that Charlie Frye has become an afterthought in the minds of many fans.
That’s not the case anymore, not after the way Frye played Saturday evening in the Browns’ 16-12 preseason win over Kansas City.
The third-year pro got the start in Cleveland’s exhibition opener and was the best quarterback on the squad — making a solid case that he should remain No. 1 when the games begin to count on Sept. 9.
Frye completed 12 of 15 throws for 122 yards and a stellar 100.6 passer rating. He also led the Browns on their lone scoring drive in the first quarter, resulting in a field goal.
“I thought I made pretty good decisions, but we’ll see what Coach (Romeo Crennel) says when he reviews the tape,” Frye said. “I put the ball where I wanted it for the most part, and I wanted to be as sharp as the defense.
“Things went OK for me for the most part.’‘
After nearly throwing an interception on the first play of the game, Frye settled down and played with the poise of a veteran with 18 regular-season starts under his belt.
The lifelong Browns fan showed good chemistry with newly acquired running back Jamal Lewis, as well as with workout buddy Kellen Winslow Jr. The latter was expected, but the former was a pleasant surprise.
It wasn’t all good for Frye on the gorgeous summer evening, however, as he made a pair of poor decisions that showed up on the scoreboard.
His ill-advised screen pass was missed by running back Jerome Harrison, who then quit on the play, allowing Chiefs cornerback Bennie Sapp to turn it into a 56-yard lateral return for a touchdown.
“He made a bad throw,” said Sapp, who outran Frye to the end zone while Harrison stood stone-footed. “I just scooped it up and saw nothing but grass ahead of me.’‘
Frye also gambled at the end of the first half by trying to scramble for a touchdown with the Browns out of timeouts. He got tackled at the Kansas City 2, allowing the Chiefs to take a 7-6 lead into the break.
“We’ve gotta get the three points,” Frye said. “In my heart, I thought I’d get us the touchdown.”
While Frye was effective, his main competition for the starting job played poorly.
Derek Anderson, who entered training camp with a slight lead in the battle, completed just 7 of 16 throws for 71 yards and had an interception for a touchdown negated by a false start.’
The strong-armed passer did lead Cleveland on two of its three offensive scoring drives, but was extremely fortunate not to have three picks.
Anderson also underwent precautionary X-rays on his wrist, but said he was fine.
“Charlie was able to get into a rhythm a little bit sooner than Derek,” Crennel said. “We had to try and catch Derek up with some plays. Both were hurt by some dropped passes, so we will look at the tape and make an evaluation.”
As for the other QBs on the roster, third-stringer Ken Dorsey was sacked in the end zone for a safety, while Quinn did not get into the game.
“We’ve got something to build on, so we can start a little snowball rolling,’‘ Frye said. “By the time we get to Pittsburgh (Sept. 9), hopefully we’ll be rolling.”
Contact Brian Dulik at sports@ohio.net.