"Collier taught me more about playing quarterback in six weeks than I had learned in my whole life," Ryan said the other day. "When I came up to the Rams in 1958, I tried to copy Johnny Unitas. I used to drop back, stare to my left, then turn right and try to find my receiver. Lots of times I couldn't do it. Collier told me to back away from the line of scrimmage, reading the defense as I did. He also told me to keep my eye on the receiver I think should be open. Defensive backs are watching the receivers—not me—so there's no point in faking. He said, 'Suppose you're in a crowded railroad station and you look across the waiting room at a nondescript man and you want to watch him walk across the room. If you watch him all the time, it's easy to follow him as he makes his way through the crowd, but if you look away for a second, you won't be able to find him again. It's the same with receivers.' "
Collier has also taught Ryan a trick he learned in the Navy. Collier was on the rifle range one afternoon, spraying shots all over the target area, when an old Marine sergeant came by and asked him what he was aiming at. Collier said the target, and the sergeant asked what part of the target. "The bull's-eye," Collier replied. The sergeant snorted. "You got to aim at the middle of the bull's-eye," he told Collier. "The margin of error increases with the size of the target."
While there is no record of Collier winning any medals for marksmanship, his aim did improve and he decided the same theory could be used in football.
"He told me to imagine a cross on the chest of the receiver," Ryan said. "Then I'm to aim for the middle of the cross. If I miss, I don't miss by much and the good receivers can catch anything close to them." This season Ryan has hit six imaginary crosses for scores and is second in the league in passing yardage.
While the Browns, undefeated and leading the Eastern Division, have obviously improved with Paul Brown out and Blanton Collier in, it should be emphasized that the opposition has been weak. Ahead are the major tests, games against the Steelers, Giants and Cardinals, plus a rugged intersectional battle with Detroit. These will prove just how strong Cleveland is. With Jimmy Brown happy and running free and Frank Ryan throwing bull's-eyes at imaginary crosses, opposing teams are not looking forward to finding out.