December 20, 2014

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Doug Clarke: Should it really be this tough to pick a backup QB?

Of all things …
Romeo, Romeo, where the … art thou?
Listen, didn’t anyone ever tell you that making no decision is, in fact, making one?
Whether it is a coin flip, a wet finger in the air, paper-scissors-rock, bottle caps, drawing straws or Russian roulette, the decision has been made to put fate on a pedestal above common sense, logic or instinct.
It isn’t quite venturing into Chaos Theory country, but it is pushing the boundaries.
Look, it was probably fun and all, and no real harm was done (it is, after all, exhibition football), but in pulling that feint of hand, the perception was/is that, well … you aren’t quite master of your domain. Head coaches who flip coins to determine their starting quarterback have either returned to the ranks of assistant coaches — or they are in insurance, perhaps coaching CYO on the weekends.
The longer Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson dance this slow waltz of the misbegotten, twirling aimlessly around the ballroom floor in the throes of semi-ineptitude, the more clumsy the inevitable transition to Brady Quinn is going to be.
Step up, Romeo. Make a decision. One of them should go. Yesterday would have been best, or even the week before that, but we’ll settle for the day after today.
Trade one of them for a midround draft pick. Or a defensive lineman who can provide some depth in that area.
But, Doug, you ask, who should go?
Doesn’t matter. They aren’t quite separated-at-birth quarterbacks — although both seem to have inherited a genetic code which includes brain cramping at critical moments.
If you have a choice, go with the guy with the stronger arm. You can’t teach arm strength. That means Anderson gets the nod here.
Here’s the thing, though. If someone were to offer you a slightly better draft pick or a slightly better player for Anderson than they would for Frye, then, for goodness sake, pull the trigger and live with it. Last man standing gets to hold the clipboard for Quinn in four weeks, anyway.
Keeping four quarterbacks on a team this devoid of talent is just too damn much window dressing. It’s like putting Jessica Alba in a movie with a plot and character development and dialogue when she can just stand around and look good.
OK, bad analogy. But this alleged “battle” between Frye and Anderson is so sexless and so mundane an exercise that the above paragraph just begged to have Jessica’s name in it.
Frye and Anderson are cluttering things up. Two practically identical, working class heroes fighting to be a backup? (Providing, of course, that the one who remains a Brown can stay ahead of Ken Dorsey on the depth chart. No sure thing, that.) There are bigger issues. Like the timing of when you make Brady the No. 1 guy.
This first decision — how to unclutter the duel for eventual backup — has to be dispensed with before moving on to the next thing.
It’s a simple plan. Quit complicating things. Squeeze the trigger. Make a decision. With apologies to John Lennon, there’s room at the top for you, Romeo. But first you must learn to smile when you kill … if you want to be like all the boys on the coaching hill.

That’s baseball

If there’s one sure thing about a baseball season it’s that it never goes the way the prognosticators say it’ll go back in March or April.
Take the Indians. They pick up a couple of gnarly guys like Trot Nixon and David Dellucci to help in the Veteran Leadership department and also bring some pop from the left side to help out Travis Hafner.
So what happens? Nixon’s good in the clubhouse, but slow in the field and has only warning-track power any more. Dellucci got hurt and is spending the season on the DL. Hafner, troubled by injuries and the burden of a fat contract, has been, well … mostly terrible. Other stuff happened: Josh Barfield flagged horribly after the break. Ryan Garko hits hard, except not so much when men are on base.
On top of that, starter Cliff Lee suddenly got lefthanded-itis — which means there’s no explaining his dismal season other than to say he’s a southpaw. Same thing with the soft-tossing Sowers.
So here we are bearing down on September, and the Tribe is clinging to first place in the A.L. Central because of Fausto Carmona — who was such a mess last season no one would give a plug nickel for his chances of even making the roster — and the sudden and timely emergence of guys like Franklin Gutierrez and Asdrubal Cabrera. Not to mention the very used but still-workable spark plug that is Kenny Lofton.
This is what they mean when they talk about the importance of having a productive farm system. A big fat “attaboy” is due GM Mark Shapiro.
Still, the Tigers are the Tigers, even if they don’t, at the moment, have Gary Sheffield. The team that’s gets hottest in September is the team to fear. And maybe a team of destiny.
Keep your car radio and your computer close, and your cell phone Internet access closer. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

What in the World?

If you want to stay on my good side, don’t talk to me about the World Games or whatever it is that’s keeping Kobe and LeBron and the boys busy this summer. Couldn’t care less.
Also, if you want to hang around with me, wear manly footwear. Don’t come along with your Jesus sandals slapping on the sidewalk and your fat toes showing and expect to rub elbows with me.
This just in: A recent Nielson-Kendrick study reveals that 72.5 percent of the callers to Bruce Drennan’s “All Bets Are Off” TV show (the one he does from a Formica desk in his very own rec room) are grown men who either appeared on “The Price Is Right” or contestants who didn’t make the final cut due to wardrobe failure. Some 20.3 percent phone the show while still in their jammies and 7.2 percent are undecided.
Rounding third …
Contact Doug Clarke at 329-7137 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.