Derek Anderson will start against the Bengals

Derek Anderson 1

The Plain Dealer is reporting that Derek Anderson will get the start at quarterback for the Browns against the Bengals.

This is the right call. After watching the first three games, I don’t think Eric Mangini had much of a choice. I supported the decision to start Brady Quinn, and I fully expected him to get a fair shot to show what he could do. I think Mangini expected to give Quinn plenty of time as well. Unfortunately, Quinn has been absolutely terrible. After watching the first three games, it’s hard to imagine how Quinn ever becomes a consistent starter in the NFL.

NFL coaches are often criticized for becoming enamored with big-arm quarterbacks, but after watching Quinn for several games, followed by just one half by Anderson, it becomes very clear why arm strength is critical. NFL quarterbacks have to be able to consistently hit receivers on the deep out pattern, and they have to be able to rifle passes down field. Without that, defenses can cheat by having a safety play up in the box, which then places great pressure on the running game. Quinn has trouble making those throws, but even worse, he will usually pass up opportunities down field and take the easy dump-off throw.

We were having similar conversations last season with a different offense and different coordinators. Was the offensive scheme different for Brady Quinn? Were the Browns going more with a short-pass strategy when Quinn was in the game? The coaching staff always said that was not the case. I didn’t really believe them last season, but now we’ve been seeing the same thing.

As soon as Derek Anderson entered the game, it looked like we had a completely different offense. Anderson was able to get the ball down field, and he was able to move the offense.

Now, we all know that Anderson has his own problems, and the three interceptions looked terrible. But at least coaches can work with him on those problems, and at least the defenses will now have to respect his arm. With Quinn, however, no amount of coaching is going to improve his arm strength or accuracy on the loner throws. With time he might gain some confidence and be more aggressive with his first or second option, but the opposite seems to be happening.

With Quinn, there seemed to be little upside, and we ran the risk of having the entire season become a disaster. Other players would also be affected. The young receivers wouldn’t develop as fast if Quinn wasn’t getting them the ball. The running game would also be a huge problem as defenses would continue to crowd the box and dare Quinn to throw deep.

Mangini did what he had to do. Now let’s hope Anderson takes advantage of the opportunity.

Photo by Bill Moore. Copyright Bullz-Eye.com, LLC.

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