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Charlie Frye's Night in the Box

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Charlie Frye is a failed quarterback. Seattle moved a sixth round pick for Frye hoping to rectify a botched start to his career. Frye, always a project, never a plug and play quarterback, cut his teeth behind some miserable offensive lines. His style inflates sacks and he struggled mightily in Cleveland, suffering 66 sacks over 557 pass attempts. Adjusted for opponent and down and distance, Frye recorded Kriegian adjusted sack rates of 10.7% (2005) and 9.8% (2006). For comparison, his tackle dummies in arms Trent Dilfer and Derek Anderson suffered but 6.4% (2005) and 6.0% (2006) adjusted sack rates, respectively. After a five sack slip and slide in week one, Cleveland cut bait, shipping Frye to Seattle for a sixth round pick. Behind a revamped offensive line, Anderson's rate improved from good to excellent: 3.5%.

Anderson, inaccurate but big, mobile and with a quick release, could survive if not thrive behind a worm-eaten line. Frye became a worse quarterback by the snap. Seattle has attempted to decondition Frye's sack induced spasms by teaching him to make quicker reads, check down to his tight end and running backs and fit him with the red shirt aegis. If only the latter worked during the season. They also, theoretically, assembled a line that could give him the kind of time to remain plumb. That's out the window on Saturday, as the white rat's back and the boom returns.

The goal of the preseason is not to win, but to develop. To assess talent and execute plays against unfriendly opposition. If Mike Holmgren expects execution and an accurate display of skills on Saturday, he's not only mistaken, he may be making one of the fundamental mistakes of management: overmatching new employees and positioning them to fail.

The Bears will play their starters into the third quarter. Seattle will not reciprocate. Seneca Wallace or Frye will start, but, either way, Frye will see extensive action. Should he start, Frye may be bookended briefly by starting tackles Walter Jones and Sean Locklear. That'll be nice for Charlie. The cheery arrival before the turn of the screw, because after those ten snaps or so, Jones and Lock get to squat and the Kyle Williams/Ray Willis Happy-Birthday-of-Death B unit are scheduled to escort Mark Anderson, Adawale Ogunleye and Mike Brown about Frye's head and shoulders. Clench that mouthguard, Frye Guy, Tommie Harris is swooping in with a cape shaped like Steve Vallos. But Chicago's front six are no children and Frye no innocent, in fact, he's about to be downright violated.

So "double-u tee ef?" as my wife would say. Why put Frye in the fryer? Why take a battered quarterback and marry him to Rocky? Holmgren seems like the old school type that demands accountability in a tornado. In that sense, he doesn't expect Frye to beat the disaster, just keep his head. And if he can't, at least lick his wounds and build up from the breakdown. It's not a sure-failure strategy. Some thrive on adversity. Sometimes nothing can be a pretty cool hand, just probably not for Frye, who's had his share of nothing and not too many cold drinks.