In an article that can be found right here, James Walker addresses the Browns’ quarterback situation going into next season. For the most part, there is little I can disagree with, and it contains little that Cleveland fans don’t already know, such as the fact that no matter what Derek Anderson does, there is no way he can be more popular than Brady Quinn. However, there was one paragraph that did catch my attention:
It’s a popularity contest Anderson will never win, not even with his 3,787 yards, 29 touchdowns and spot in the Pro Bowl this past season. He was even booed at home when returning from injury in the Browns’ season finale, because it took Quinn off the field in his only action last season.
I remember that final regular season game (against the 49ers) because I was there. I also remember it being ridiculously cold, and it took a while to gain back feeling in my toes after I neglected to wear an extra pair of socks that day. I also remember going to the bathroom at halftime and finding that a woman was in the men’s room, and she actually ended up going to the bathroom in one of the stalls. The more inebriated of the fans waiting in line did not seem to mind too much.
But that’s besides the point. The point is that Walker pretty much makes Cleveland fans out to be ignorant brutes for booing a guy who got injured. Granted, there were some collective groans coming once Anderson entered the game again, but the real boos came in the first quarter of that game when he threw an awful interception. Fans were becoming privy to the quarterback’s struggles in the second half of the season and one has to take into account that everyone was still bitter about that Bengals game only a week before.
It was a game against the lowly San Francisco 49ers and it was probably a foregone conclusion that the Browns were going to win. Besides, once the lead was established, what would have been the harm to treating the fans to a glimpse of Quinn? With the Colts tanking later that night (as we were all fairly sure they would), there were no playoffs to be had anyway. It would have been nice for Quinn to truly get his feet wet, rather than playing just a series and leaving more speculation about his potential capabilities as an NFL quarterback. It would have only been one half of football against a garbage team, but at least it would have been something.
Yes, it is true that Anderson put up great stats and earned a spot on the Pro Bowl roster, but by now Derek’s troubles in the second half of the season is common knowledge . Browns fans wouldn’t mind a gun-slinging quarterback, as long as he is smart about who he is throwing to. Year Two of the Anderson era will be interesting, because what will happen if he makes the right adjustments and puts up a solid full season? Do they keep Anderson for the long haul and trade away the potential talent that is Quinn? Walker has something right when he says the two probably won’t last together beyond this season. When I think about the situation, I consider that Anderson has at least shown flashes of brilliance in the NFL. What has Quinn accomplished? And just how many big games did he win at Notre Dame, especially those against teams like USC, LSU, and Ohio State?