AFC North: Charlie Frye
The 20th anniversary means a little more than the 16th, and a young man or woman who turns 20 feels a little more "adult."
- Ty Detmer -- The plan to have him hold the fort lasted for one blowout loss, in the season opener against Pittsburgh.
- Tim Couch -- The original No. 1 choice, had a couple of good years but not enough.
- Spergon Wynn -- Chris Palmer was lobbied to play him by the front office, and he produced two first downs in one game.
- Doug Pederson -- Now Kansas City's offensive coordinator, started the Dennis Northcutt/Kevin Johnson quarterback game.
- Couch -- The only season when one quarterback started every game.
- Kelly Holcomb -- The year of the Dwayne Rudd helmet-removal game and the blown playoff game in Pittsburgh.
- Holcomb -- Incurred the "teeny-tiny break of a non-weight bearing bone in his leg."
- Couch -- Late this season, Butch Davis told Couch he was his quarterback for years to come; Couch was released in the offseason.
- Jeff Garcia -- He never quite fit in, though he thinks he does now.
- Luke McCown -- Interim coach Terry Robiskie admitted when McCown played, it was men against boys.
- Trent Dilfer -- Good guy, but chewed up by the Cleveland system always looking for the next guy.
- Charlie Frye -- Had moments as a rookie until the Christmas Eve massacre against Pittsburgh.
- Frye -- The season when Braylon Edwards grabbed him on the sidelines.
- Derek Anderson -- Former seventh-round pick of Baltimore
- Frye -- Traded after the Browns lost the season opener.
- Anderson -- Had the best season of a Browns QB since 1999, won 10 games, but didn't win the game needed to make the playoffs.
- Brady Quinn -- The town was jubliant after Phil Savage traded up to get him and Joe Thomas in the first round.
- Ken Dorsey -- At this point hopes were dimmed.
- Bruce Gradkowski -- Signed to start the last game when everyone else was hurt.
- Quinn and Anderson -- Yo-yoed back and forth by Eric Mangini.
- Jake Delhomme -- Mike Holmgren's interim solution.
- Seneca Wallace -- Holmgren's backup solution.
- Colt McCoy -- Holmgren's drafted solution.
- McCoy -- The year he was put back in the game with a concussion in Pittsburgh.
- Brandon Weeden -- Holmgren's first-round draft solution.
- Thad Lewis -- Now playing reasonably well for Buffalo.
- Brian Hoyer -- Showed promise before unfortunate injury.
- Campbell -- Passed over twice, now starting.
The Steelers come to town, the city gets hyped for the rivalry and then Browns fans are disappointed after another Pittsburgh win. Rewind. Recycle. Repeat.
Sure, the Browns split last season's series (including a rare win at home). But including playoffs, Pittsburgh has won an astounding 20 of the past 24 meetings with the Browns, including a 28-10 victory this year at Heinz Field. Cleveland (5-10) has a long way to go to close the gap as the playoff-bound Steelers (11-4) once again are heavily favored in Sunday's regular-season finale at Browns Stadium.
This once-intense rivalry has been surpassed in the division by Pittsburgh's heated battles with the Baltimore Ravens -- and it's not even close. But there is hope for the Browns.
The AFC North blog offers five ways Cleveland can help rekindle this rivalry that dates to 1950:
1. Browns must take the rivalry more seriously
Don't believe the spin coming out of Cleveland. The Browns have not taken this game as seriously as Pittsburgh has recently.
In Cleveland's first game back in its return to the NFL in 1999, the Steelers pounded the Browns in Cleveland, 43-0. That set the tone for this stellar run by the Steelers the past 12 seasons.
"Ah, man, [we take it] very serious," Steelers receiver Mike Wallace said of games against the Browns. "We know that they don't like us there in Cleveland, and we don't like them very much over here either. So it's a big-time game."
"I was just telling someone the other day, it’s just such a unique game in a lot of aspects," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. " The close proximity -- I can't say I've been involved in a bus trip in any NFL city that I've been in. It's just not the nature of our business." (Pittsburgh and Cleveland are only 130 miles apart, roughly a 2 1/2-hour bus ride. Each team takes a bus to these games.)
Added Tomlin: "Of course, the history of the two organizations and the success that they’ve had in the history make it a unique matchup." (Pittsburgh leads the all-time series, 61-56, including two playoff wins.)
I've spent a lot of time in both locker rooms the past three years, and there is a significant difference in culture and expectation. Cleveland hopes to win this game, but Pittsburgh expects to win -- and win big.
The expectation level for both organizations is a world apart, and until that changes, the Browns will not close the gap on the Steelers. For example, Pittsburgh went 9-7 last year and you would think it was 0-16 by how upset the players were. Two assistant coaches also were let go after the Steelers' nine-win season.
How would the Browns react if they were 9-7? Think about that.
2. Cleveland must find a quarterback it can count on
Pittsburgh has an advantage over Cleveland in most personnel areas. But the most important position is quarterback, and that's been one of the biggest disparities the past several years.
On one side, the Steelers have two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. On the other, the Browns have had a revolving door that includes Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson, Charlie Frye, etc.
In the first meeting with Pittsburgh, many expected McCoy to fail in his first NFL game. But McCoy looked poised at Heinz Field, throwing for a season-high 281 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He also completed 69.7 percent of his passes against the NFL's No. 2 defense. Afterward, the Steelers said they were impressed with the rookie.
"I watched the tape when we played earlier in the season, [and] I watched myself and thought, 'Man, I've come a long ways from that. I'm playing a lot better.'" McCoy said this week.
3. Develop continuity
The Browns are expected to get rid of another head coach (Eric Mangini) and make their fifth head-coaching hire in 12 years. With a new coach usually comes different players, and there has been a lot of roster turnover in Cleveland.
With so many people coming in and out of the organization, the importance of beating Pittsburgh can get lost. Meanwhile, the Steelers are a model for consistency. Pittsburgh has three head coaches since 1969. It makes good coaching and personnel decisions that provide stability, and it's understood that beating Cleveland is expected every year.
There are some career Browns such as kicker Phil Dawson, receiver Josh Cribbs and left tackle Joe Thomas who have a firm understanding of the rivalry. But too much turnover in Cleveland has made it difficult for that message to sink in with all 53 players.
4. Cleveland must win
A rivalry isn't strong unless both teams are winners. This has been one of the more lopsided division matchups in the league for the past decade.
The Browns have nine seasons with 10 or more losses and only two winning seasons since 1999. Mangini is 2-9 against AFC North opponents since joining the Browns in 2009. In their win against Pittsburgh last season, the Browns found a winning formula by making the game low-scoring and not making many mistakes. They likely will look to win that way Sunday. Cleveland isn’t good enough now to sweep the Steelers, but winning more home games against Pittsburgh would start to develop confidence and momentum.
"We've had success against them a lot of different ways in the past. Some of it's scheme," Mangini explained. "Josh has done a good job against them in the past with some of the Wildcat stuff. ... Now being able to do it consistently, that's the important thing and that’s the challenging thing."
5. The Browns must become a contender
This final step is perhaps the most difficult. Not only must the Browns beat Pittsburgh consistently to make it a rivalry, but Cleveland must win marquee games. This is what makes the Steelers-Ravens rivalry special. When those teams play, first place in the AFC North and playoff implications are in play. Ravens-Steelers games get national exposure because both organizations are consistently good.
The Browns have a long way to go for this final step, as evidenced by their one playoff appearance in the past 12 seasons. But if Cleveland is going to turn the franchise around, it must get by Pittsburgh -- and lately that's been nearly impossible.
Mangini gushed about McCoy's work ethic, quick learning curve and how the rookie wouldn't accept it when everyone in the organization -- from Holmgren on down -- said they didn't plan for McCoy to see the field this year. Instead, McCoy is projected to play eight games, which is half of the Browns' season.
McCoy landed his initial opportunity through injury, but he's regaining the starting job with solid play in five starts. He threw for 975 yards, completed 63.8 percent of his passes and had an 85.3 passer rating. The rookie proved to be the best quarterback on the roster and essentially forced the team into this decision.
"I wasn't really looking at this as just being the case where we're throwing a young guy in to see whether or not a young guy can do it," Mangini said. "I think Colt really did a good job with the opportunities that he had. I think he's earned the chance to play these three games."
Is McCoy the long-term solution in Cleveland? It's too early to tell.
But the Browns (5-8) and the rest of the NFL are about to learn a lot more about McCoy in the next three games against AFC North opponents. The first test is Sunday, a road game against the Cincinnati Bengals (2-11) and then there's back-to-back home games against the playoff-bound Baltimore Ravens (9-4) and Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3).
The training wheels are officially off for McCoy.
"It's no landmark day," McCoy said Thursday. "Today is the day that I know I'm the starter and I have to go out and play. I have to go out and get better and I have to go out and help us win."
McCoy's play down the stretch will affect a lot with the Browns, starting with the NFL draft. Quarterback is the league's most important position, and Cleveland has lacked stability there since returning to the NFL in 1999.
A lot of quarterbacks have passed through Cleveland's revolving door, including Tim Couch, Kelly Holcomb, Jeff Garcia, Trent Dilfer, Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn and now Jake Delhomme. Poor quarterback play is one of the biggest reasons Cleveland has just one playoff appearance in more than a decade.
McCoy showed promise, going 2-3 in five starts. But five games do not make a solid season. Three more contests will provide a half-season's worth of film to evaluate the rookie.
"The No. 1 goal of the Cleveland Browns right now has to be finding out what they have in McCoy," said Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. "They like what they've seen from him, but can he be the guy? Or do the Browns need to draft a guy or bring in a free agent? I think the Browns need to have a clear picture of that going into the offseason."
The Browns also need to find out whether McCoy can play in inclement weather. Garcia, Frye and Quinn didn't have the arm strength to throw against the heavy winds that come off Lake Erie in Browns Stadium during the winter.
McCoy's biggest asset is his accuracy, not arm strength, which raised some red flags when the Browns drafted the University of Texas product in the third round. McCoy didn't see a lot of bad weather as a four-year starter in the Big 12.
"I've played in the snow and wind in Kansas a couple times. I've played in Nebraska," McCoy explained. "We had some real wet games back home [in Austin]."
McCoy believes playing in bad weather is more mental than physical. But when he was pressed by the media this week regarding his arm strength, a confident McCoy fired back.
"I guess we'll find out, won't we?" McCoy scoffed.
Running the carousel in the AFC North also will be a great learning tool for McCoy. If Cleveland is to turn the franchise around and make a run at the postseason, it first has to win within the division.
The past three seasons the Browns are just 3-12 against AFC North opponents. It's a major reason former head coach Romeo Crennel was fired in Cleveland and Mangini is currently on the hot seat. If McCoy can get hot and pick up two or three wins against Cleveland's biggest rivals, everyone in the organization looks better heading into the offseason.
It's obvious the Browns have a lot riding on McCoy's performance in these final three games.
The Browns are hopeful they finally have a proven starting quarterback this year. Since returning to the NFL in 1999, Cleveland has had a plethora of rotating quarterbacks that included Tim Couch, Kelly Holcomb, Trent Dilfer, Charlie Frye, Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson.
Delhomme looked good in Wednesday's practice that was open to the media. He hit receivers Brian Robiskie and Chansi Stuckey for a pair of diving touchdown receptions to the outside. Delhomme also was accurate and in command of the huddle throughout Wednesday's organized team activities.
"The things that we have heard about his leadership and our research is definitely showing up since he's been here," said Cleveland head coach Eric Mangini.
The Browns have a quiet confidence about Delhomme.
Expectations are fairly low, because Delhomme is 35 and coming off the worst season of his NFL career. Last year Delhomme threw for 2,015 yards, eight touchdowns and 18 interceptions before being benched by the Carolina Panthers.
"I love six of the seven years I had in Carolina," Delhomme said. "I'll be perfectly honest. Everything was great, [but] last season just wasn’t a lot of fun."
Much of Cleveland's success rest on Delhomme's shoulders. If he has a bounce-back year, the Browns have a good chance to improve on last year's 5-11 record. If Delhomme has another disastrous year, Cleveland could be in major trouble.
Will the Cleveland Browns have enough patience to successfully groom rookie quarterback Colt McCoy?
When it comes to quarterbacks, patience certainly is not a virtue in Cleveland.
Often the Browns' organization followed suit by rushing quarterbacks onto the field and usually without much of a supporting cast.
For example, Tim Couch was a No. 1 overall pick after the Browns returned to the NFL in 1999. He played 15 games his rookie year and spent that season -- and most of his career -- taking a pounding for an expansion franchise. Thus, Couch never had the chance to fully blossom as an NFL quarterback thanks to various injuries he suffered.
Kelly Holcomb, Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson and most recently Brady Quinn all followed and were among the young players who were shuffled in and out of Cleveland’s revolving door at quarterback. The team never established a consistent direction at the league's most important position.
This brings us to McCoy -- this year's highly publicized third-round pick. He is the next young quarterback to generate hope and a significant buzz in northeast Ohio.
Ideally, Browns president Mike Holmgren wants to wait a year, maybe two, before McCoy sees the field. But the second veteran starter Jake Delhomme struggles with a multi-interception game, there will be pressure in Cleveland to see what McCoy can do. Yet Seneca Wallace, not McCoy, is currently No. 2 on the depth chart if Delhomme falters.
In the past decade, few NFL franchises have failed more at grooming a long-term solution at quarterback than the Browns. That is why it's important for the team to stick to its plan and let McCoy learn from the sidelines in 2010 -- no matter what happens with the quarterbacks in front of him.
Frustration had been mounting with Anderson ever since the end of the 2007 season. He had the finest year of his career, which included 3,787 yards and 29 touchdowns, but it never seemed to matter. It is a fact that he was cheered by Browns fans while injured, and things only got worse when his level of play dropped.
Living in Ohio for the past seven years, I will offer you two truths about Browns fans: First, it is an extremely frustrated group. Second, the backup quarterback usually is the most popular player in town.
Browns fans have an odd infatuation with players holding a clipboard. Somehow, standing on the sideline long enough creates legendary status in Cleveland.
It happened to Kelly Holcomb. It happened to Charlie Frye. And in Anderson's case, it most recently happened to Brady Quinn. All of these former backups were fan favorites until they also faltered, leaving Browns fans to seamlessly move on to the next target.
Should Anderson have made those comments publicly? No, especially since it was a parting shot on his way out the door.
But it's true that Cleveland is not a quarterback-friendly city, and perhaps Anderson's comments will provide Browns fans a chance to re-examine how they treat the NFL's most important position.
Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 16:
Help wanted: The defending champion Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7) aim to keep their playoff hopes alive in a rivalry game against the Baltimore Ravens (8-6). Pittsburgh needs a lot of help and victories over Baltimore and the Miami Dolphins (7-7) in the final two weeks to have a chance at the wild card. Beating the Ravens won’t be easy. They are playing their best football of the season, outscoring their last two opponents 79-10. The Ravens also won the previous meeting against Pittsburgh, 20-17 in overtime on Nov. 29.
Secondary issues: Pittsburgh's best shot at victory Sunday is to attack Baltimore's ailing secondary. Rookie cornerback Lardarius Webb (knee) is out for the season. Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed (groin, foot) has missed the past three games, so his status is up in the air, and former starter Fabian Washington (knee) was put on injured reserve last month. It also helps the Steelers that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is on fire. He threw for a career-high 503 yards last week in a victory over the Green Bay Packers.
Holmgren is watching: This will be an interesting two weeks for the Cleveland Browns now that Mike Holmgren is the team’s president. Holmgren has a lot of work to do to fix the Browns (3-11). That’s why he will be watching the final two games closely to get a feel for players and coaches he wants to keep in 2010. With new leadership, Cleveland's stretch run has become a team-wide audition.
Frye returns: An interesting subplot when the Oakland Raiders visit Cleveland on Sunday is the return of former Browns quarterback Charlie Frye. He was a third-round pick in 2005 and once considered the future of the franchise. But things didn't pan out for Frye in Cleveland, and he spent the rest of his Browns career as a backup. Frye is getting another chance to start with the injury to Bruce Gradkowski (knee) and poor play of former No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell.
Time to clinch: The Cincinnati Bengals (9-5) can do themselves a favor by ending a two-game skid and beating the lowly Kansas City Chiefs (3-11). A win at home would clinch a playoff berth and the AFC North title. That would be a big relief for the Bengals heading into Week 17. A loss Sunday could create a scenario where Cincinnati has to beat the New York Jets (7-7) on the road to clinch.
Here are the picks for Week 16:
Kansas City Chiefs (3-11) at Cincinnati Bengals (9-5), Sunday at 1 p.m.
Analysis: After two rough weeks on and off the field, Cincinnati finally has an easy opponent.
Pick: Bengals, 30-14
Oakland Raiders (5-9) at Cleveland Browns (3-11), Sunday at 1 p.m.
Analysis: Derek Anderson versus Charlie Frye in Cleveland. Interesting.
Pick: Raiders, 24-23
Baltimore Ravens (8-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7), Sunday at 1 p.m.
Analysis: Baltimore's secondary is ailing this week. That should be the difference in a close game.
Pick: Steelers, 23-20
Last week: 4-0
Overall record: 31-14
Comment: Merry Christmas, everyone.
Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker
Receiver Braylon Edwards' tenure with the Cleveland Browns came to an end Wednesday in a move that was long overdue. These recent allegations and his lack of production only hastened the trade to the New York Jets.
|AP Photo/Mark Duncan|
|The Browns have agreed to trade wide receiver Braylon Edwards to the Jets.|
Cleveland was never a good fit for Edwards. His boisterous, big-city personality often came off as too brash in such a blue-collar city. A trade to New York is an ideal landing spot for the former Browns receiver.
Edwards will be a free agent after the season and made it clear that he wouldn't return. So the winless Browns (0-4) got Jets receiver Chansi Stuckey, special-teamer Jason Trusnik and two draft picks.
Edwards was rarely happy with the Browns. In the 2005 draft, he believed the Miami Dolphins would take him with the second overall pick. But when the Dolphins selected tailback Ronnie Brown instead, leaving the Browns to select Edwards at No. 3, the receiver seemed disappointed at the prospect of coming to Cleveland (or not going to Miami).
The initial hunch was correct.
With the exception of some good moments in 2007, Edwards’ tenure in Cleveland was mostly a disappointment. He was a late arrival to training camp and later suffered a season-ending knee injury in his rookie year. He’s been among the league leaders in drops the past two seasons in addition to several off-the-field incidents that often served as distractions.
Charlie Frye's jersey on the sideline while arguing with other players.
Edwards also had a strange complex as a University of Michigan alum playing in Ohio State Buckeye country. He thought he never got a fair shot, but that was terribly overrated. Browns fans mostly were upset with Edwards’ drops and inconsistency.
The arrival of coach Eric Mangini, who is a disciplinarian, made it just a matter of time before Edwards exited Cleveland. The Browns couldn’t find the right deal in the offseason but they were able to make their second trade in six months with Mangini’s former team.
Getting a fresh start is best for Edwards and the Browns.
Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker
CLEVELAND -- Brady Quinn will take the field as the starting quarterback Sunday in the Browns’ season opener against the Minnesota Vikings, the team announced.
This is will be Quinn’s fourth career start and first to open the season for the Browns. The former first-round pick is Cleveland’s third Week 1 quarterback in the past three years. Derek Anderson and Charlie Frye were the other two.
Rookie center Alex Mack also will start for Cleveland.
Posted by ESPN.com’s James Walker
Here is an amazing stat: The Cleveland Browns are the only NFL team to open their season at home every year since 1999.
Here is another amazing stat: Cleveland is 1-9 in those games.
For the 11th consecutive season, the Dawgpound will host a season opener Sunday when the Browns face Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings.
Cleveland’s had the benefit of being granted a decade’s worth of home openers by the NFL but has done very little with it. The team’s only win came in 2004 against the Baltimore Ravens (20-3).
The Browns have been outscored 256-105 in their last 10 openers. And according to ESPN Stats & Information, Cleveland hasn’t scored one first-quarter touchdown in Week 1 since its return to the league in 1999.
This is also a major reason the Browns have just one playoff appearance in that same span. Cleveland rarely gets off to a fast start, where a season-opening loss usually contributes to an uphill climb the rest of the year.
The Browns are hoping for better success this week under new head coach Eric Mangini. He had some first-year magic with the New York Jets in leading them to the playoffs as a rookie coach in 2006. But few expect similar results in Cleveland.
Mangini still hasn’t named his starting quarterback but has an idea of who it’s going to be. Most expect it to be Brady Quinn, who would be the eighth Week 1 starting quarterback in the past 11 seasons. That list also includes Ty Detmer, Tim Couch, Kelly Holcomb, Trent Dilfer and Charlie Frye.
Can Mangini and (possibly) Quinn buck the trend?
Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
|Jason Miller/US Presswire|
|Mohamed Massaquoi appears to have an early lead in the competition to be the No. 2 receiver.|
Here are some notes and observations:
- Browns coach Eric Mangini still hasn't named a starting quarterback for this weekend and will wait until Thursday or Friday. Neither Brady Quinn nor Derek Anderson seemed too concerned, as both players will probably get an equal amount of reps with the first and second teams.
- Speaking of Anderson, he says he's more relaxed now than in the spring. Anderson learned from his previous competition with Charlie Frye two years ago when he was often overthinking and underperforming. This time around Anderson is trying to stay loose, which is when he is at his best.
- Cleveland receiver Braylon Edwards, who is having a good week of camp, dressed in full pads but did not participate in team drills. Edwards jammed his hand or finger Tuesday evening during an interception and worked out on the sidelines Wednesday.
- I really question whether the Browns can pound the ball up the middle as much as they would like this season. Cleveland's running game hasn't looked stout so far in the trenches. In fact, most of the team's best runs in camp are coming on the outside. The push from the offensive line inside just doesn't seem to be there consistently and starting tailback Jamal Lewis often is stopped a couple of yards or less into his runs. I have to caution not to read too much from practice. But this will certainly be something to monitor in preseason games.
- Both rookie receivers Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie made some nice catches Wednesday. But Massaquoi still appears to be ahead of Robiskie at this point. In the past few days the rookie from Georgia has been more consistent and is getting a lot of reps with the first team, which could be a slight indication of who has the early lead in the race to be the No. 2 receiver.
- Browns nose tackle Shaun Rogers looks poised for another big year. As rookie center Alex Mack would attest, Rogers has been hard to block in team drills, and he still has unbelievable feet and agility for a big man.
- Remember the 2006 Fiesta Bowl? There was a lot of hype concerning Brady Quinn's sister, Laura, who is married to Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk. At the time Quinn and Hawk were college adversaries at Notre Dame and Ohio State, and there was a lot of media coverage given to Laura, who was caught in between her brother and husband. Quinn said he hopes that storyline doesn't resurface this weekend.
Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
Here are the most interesting stories Tuesday in the AFC North:
- Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco hopes to be embraced again by the fans when he returns to Cincinnati later this month.
Morning take: The relationship between Ochocinco and Cincinnati fans has been rocky in recent years. It will be interesting to see if "Bengaldom" gives No. 85 another chance in 2009.
- The Sporting News ranked all 32 head coaches, and John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens cracked the top 10.
Morning take: This is quite an accomplishment when at least 70 percent of football fans had no idea who John Harbaugh was a year ago.
- Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall is working to get comfortable in his second season.
Morning take: Perhaps the biggest disappointment with Mendenhall's injury last season was that it cost him 15 games of experience (including playoffs). With just four games under his belt, Mendenhall is still a rookie in many ways.
- Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Charlie Frye signs with the Oakland Raiders.
Morning take: It seems like yesterday when Frye was the starting quarterback and fan favorite in Cleveland. Now he joins a crowded group in Oakland that also includes quarterbacks JaMarcus Russell, Jeff Garcia and Bruce Gradkowski.
Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
|Joe Robbins/Getty Images|
|Did Brady Quinn's rookie holdout hurt the start of his career?|
Sometimes flashbacks can be very thought-provoking.
This flashback is very clear, because two years ago I was in the thick of covering this story as the Browns beat reporter for the Columbus Dispatch. Here are some old stories here and here if anyone is interested.
Quinn was projected to be a top 10 pick two years ago and fell to No. 22, which was trouble for the Browns because super agent Tom Condon wanted to get his client as close to Quinn's original projection as possible.
It resulted in a complicated contract and lengthy holdout in which Quinn missed most of training camp and a chance to compete with Derek Anderson and Charlie Frye. Two years later, Quinn still doesn't know if he will start in Cleveland. Quinn will compete with Anderson this summer.
Although football is a business, would sacrificing some money to sign early have changed the course of Quinn's history? Quarterback Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens learned from Quinn's mistake a year later, getting to camp on time, and leading the Ravens to the AFC title game as a rookie. Flacco also made an extra $3 million in playing-time bonuses.
Looking back two years ago, maybe Quinn's early production would have been similar.
Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
Here are the most interesting stories Wednesday in the AFC North:
- The NFL approved the "Hines Ward rule," preventing contact to the head on blindside blocks, at the owners' meeting Tuesday.
Morning take: Welcome to the NFFL: The National Flag Football League.
- Cleveland Browns coach Eric Mangini says expect another quarterback competition this summer between Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn.
- The Cincinnati Bengals are looking to get back to the deep ball with the return of quarterback Carson Palmer and receivers Chad Ocho Cinco and Laveranues Coles.
Morning take: They better get protection for Palmer in the draft first, or he will be on his back before the receivers finish their routes.
Morning take: Absolutely. His namesake and legacy are solid. But Pace has to be able to stay healthy to make a difference next season.