By Mike KahnSeahawks Insider
The transition has been meteoric for Charlie Frye, going from starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns to third-string quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks.
Tuesday he passed his physical, went through practice, worked afterward with quarterback coach Jim Zorn and stopped briefly to chat with the media before going into some heavy-duty study sessions with Zorn. Now the Seahawks third quarterback behind Matt Hasselbeck and Seneca Wallace, Frye was still trying to get his head to stop spinning to go from being the starter for his virtual hometown team, to flying across the country to learn a new offense as the third quarterback.
That happened to Zorn with the Seahawks when he was replaced by Dave Krieg, so he can relate. But no starting quarterback since the merger of the NFL and AFL in 1970 has been traded.
"Absolutely (I can relate)," Zorn said. "The worst part of it is going from a starter to being a backup – somebody playing your position. I worked all off-season and earned the right to be that guy. He's done a good job of holding (it together). He has to look forward and not behind."
Frye handled himself well holding court for the gathering of television cameras, microphones and reporters coming from all angles. Having former Seahawks quarterback Trent Dilfer as his mentor as a third round draft choice out of Akron in 2005 was helpful, and he spoke to Dilfer twice Tuesday morning for guidance.
He emphasized the opportunity to learn from a quarterback guru like Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren.
"He thinks this is going to be a great situation for me and he's a guy I really look up to and really took a lot from my rookie year. That being said, I'm really excited about the situation. It's a little shocking, but there is first time for everything. I'm just trying to find the positives; that's the way I am. Coming out here being with coach Holmgren and his track record with quarterbacks – and being with Matt and Seneca – I think it's going to be a positive situation for me. I'm here to do my best and learn a lot."
Frye, 26, is 6-4, 217 and started 19 of 21 games for the Browns since 2005, completing 354-of-567 passes (62.4 percent) with 14 touchdowns, 24 interceptions and a quarterback rating of 70.4. He had set all kinds of record at Akron completing 913-of-1,436 passes (.636) for 11,049 yards, 64 touchdowns and 32 interceptions, and grew up 75 miles southwest of Cleveland in Willard.
The Seahawks cut Greene the final day of the NFL deadline on Sept. 1 and they have been looking for a quarterback since. This was the first time Holmgren has gone into a season with just two quarterbacks and was uncomfortable. Zorn had prepared safety Brian Russell, ironically a former teammate and golfing buddy of Frye's at Cleveland, as the emergency quarterback. Russell was a quarterback at San Diego State until moving to safety late there.
More importantly, this will be the fifth different offense he's had to learn over the past five seasons. At least his senior year at Akron they ran a version of the West Coast offense that Holmgren's offense is built around. Zorn stressed the need to learn the "language" of this offense, and that it is a matter of translation because he understands the plays and routes.
In other words, short of an emergency, he's a long way away from being able to step on the field and run this team.
"He was one of the guys we studied coming out of college that year and was one of the handful of quarterbacks you could say would probably get drafted," Holmgren said. "It is a challenge (for him), but he's a bright guy and he's a hard-working guy, so he'll get there as fast as anybody would."
Pacing the wide receivers
Holmgren made it clear that there is no real timetable for starting split end D.J. Hackett to return from the high right ankle sprain he suffered making his first reception of the season during the first quarter of Sunday's 20-6 win over Tampa Bay.
Consequently, Nate Burleson, who battled Hackett for the starting slot to the final day of training camp, will start there and still retain his punt-returning duties.
"I don't think he's necessarily sliding into it," Hasselbeck said. "I think it was kind of a tossup last week. I like the speed with which he plays. I have also seen how hard he works over the last six months to get to this point.
"The player he is now and the player he was when he came to us – looks like two different guys on film. I think he is playing with a lot more confidence and he knows what he's doing. I just think he is a playmaker – once you get the ball I his hands, he's got a great opportunity to do something special with it."
It also opens the door for Ben Obomanu, who has recovered from a hamstring strain and rookie Courtney Taylor to see action Sunday at Arizona as well.
"It doesn't really matter who we say is the starter," Hasselbeck said, "because as I have said before, all those guys are going to get an opportunity. And the guys who make the most of their opportunities are going to get more balls thrown their way."
Bidding adieu to Bryce
The circumstances for the trade of Bryce Fisher came out loud and clear from Holmgren in his press conference after the defensive end was dealt to Tennessee for a draft choice. Obviously, the move of starting Darryl Tapp played a significant role.
But it also had to do with the advancement of rookie Baraka Atkins, and the acquisition of Jason Babin andEllis Wyms. Clearly, Fisher – the Renton native – had gotten lost in the shuffle despite being a key component of the defense that led the Seahawks to Super Bowl XL.
And Fisher losing his starting job appeared to cut into his drive, Holmgren said.
"I asked him about that and he assured me it didn't," Holmgren said. "But he's a human being. I don't want to say effort, but his heart … it was in a different place. I would say that. When I looked at him playing, I said, 'Gee, he's normally high energy – a 150 percent go get 'em guy and maybe he was just off that just a little bit. He would say no, but having been around him and watching him play, I thought it changed just a little bit. I kind of understand that. He was the starter."
Holmgren on the advancement of technology since he was an assistant coach at Brigham Young:
"We had just started the cordless headsets. I was on the field then sending plays in and Norm Chow was up in the box calling the plays. You had people in the stadium with their transistor radios listening to the whole thing: 'Hey, that's a good call.' So we've gotten a little better over the years."
This and that
Leroy Hill did not practice*Wednesday with a sprained foot, but said he hopes to play on Sunday.Kevin Bentleyplayed in his spot in practice…Maurice Morrisdidn't practice either with a sore hip, and recently acquiredAlvin Pearmanran with the second team. … Seahawks presidentTim Ruskell* said short of injuries they are done with player movement: "Barring any injuries now, this is our team, and we're very happy with the way our roster fits together." … The Seahawks have a full practice Thursday, moderate practice on Friday and fly to Phoenix on Saturday morning in preparation for Sunday's game.