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Stop Blaming Everything Bad About Anderson in 2008 on Dropped Passes

As a brief follow-up to Steve’s recent post about Derek Anderson being ready for training camp in terms of having recovered from his calf injury that had him sidelined earlier this off-season, it is important that we put the issue of dropped passes into a wider perspective.

There is no doubt that Braylon Edwards in particular dropped an awful lot of footballs last year – in fact the highest in the League according to most statistics trackers (remember that dropped passes tend to be less reliable stats compared to other more official NFL figures throughout the season).  And of course that had an impact on Derek Anderson losing his job.

But a look at the overall team stats on dropped passes compared to the rest of the League proves an interesting point.  It is possible for a quarterback to keep his job and perform well, even into the playoffs, in spite of his receivers dropping a lot of passes. 

As of December 2008, the Browns were second highest in the NFL in dropped passes.  I bet very few will guess the other three teams in the top 4:  Eagles, Broncos and the Colts.  McNabb and the Eagles made the NFL Championship Game against the Cards a very close contest.  Cutler and the Broncos would have made the playoffs barring that pathetic performance against the Chargers at the end of the season.  And Manning and the Colts advanced to the AFC Playoffs Wild Card Game against the Bolts.

Anderson could have overcome the dropped passes, pure and simple. 


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  • ERIC

    Ok, but he still had one NFL-caliber receiver to work with — and that receiver couldn’t catch a football. How is never mentioned that the Browns had, by far, the worst receiving corps in the NFL?

    Steptoe? Sanders? Really?

  • Joey

    It would interesting to simply examine dropped passes to completions ratio. Obviously the teams you mention hurl the old pigskin around alot more than the Browns. I would guess they also had more attempts as they score more and had more time of possesion. I can tell Clayton was not a stats major.

  • Clayton

    Thanks, Joey. You’re absolutely correct that the Broncos, Indy and the Eagles all had more pass attempts last year than the Browns (although I bet not as many more as you think; in fact the Browns were middle of the pack among AFC teams). So, because the Browns threw less passes than the other leading teams in terms of dropped balls, Anderson’s performance was a fait accompli? Hmmmm. I’ll go back and watch the games again including that last drive against Baltimore with the blooper ball into the defender’s bread basket returned for a TD. Cheers.

  • ET

    How does the criticism have anything to do with the article? The point of the article is that a quarterback can overcome and lead his team to success despite a lot of dropped balls. Exactly. Anderson’s a bum.

  • The Bull Hawk

    Middle of the road in pass attempts in the AFC? Do you know who plays in the AFC? The AFC is known for running the ball and playing defense, neither of which we did last season. Also, our inept defense means we are playing from behind and throwing more. You freely site the one situation Anderson threw a pick to lose a game. You neglect to mention not only us leading the league in drops but the situations they were dropped in. The dropped TD’s, drive killers and firstdowns.

  • gobucks1

    I can’t believe there are still people out there that think Derek Anderson should be the quarterback this year. I’m not saying that Brady Quinn is a god send or anything like that, but we paid him the money, he is smart enough, and he deserves a shot. How quickly we forget that DA couldn’t even beat out Charlie Frye(who is now 3rd string in Seattle) for the starting job in 2007. When he came in there was absolutely no pressure on him. Crennel had basically already came out and said that Quinn wasn’t going to start for a while. But after a few wins and the opportunity to lock up a playoff spot, he goes and throws 5 int’s a horrible Bengal’s defense that hadn’t stopped anyone all year. Then in the offseason we gave him big money, said “you’re the man” and he looked like he didn’t even know how to throw the ball. For some reason(probably money)we left him in until we made sure that the season was completely ruined. Quinn came in and the offense started to move the ball. Yeah his numbers weren’t flashy, but he added a spark. Had it not been for the injury(which he wanted to play through)we might have a little better of a comparison. With Quinn you get a more efficent short passing game. With Anderson you get a strong arm and throwing the deep ball wether the receiver is open or not. Ask Al Davis how that style of offense has been working for the Raiders over the last decade. Sorry this is so long, but there a lot of reasons why DA shouldn’t “be the man” this year.

  • john

    everybody talks about edwards dropped passes but what about the best reciever on the team winslow making a number of great plays(eric must of forgot about him).
    charlie is no longer clueless in seattle<
    could they be stupid enough to make the same mistake twice and give us a 6th round pick for a brainless qb.bye bye DA

  • eric b

    just because you can throw the ball 80 yards doest mean you should be an nfl qb. the reason edwards made such remarkable catches is because anderson is so inaccurate, he had to go get the ball it never came to him.
    during any game the past two seasons he would throw the ball at a recievers feet on short pass plays.
    the new offense requires a smart accurate passer who can read a defense and move the chains in small chunks to manage the clock.
    who does that sounds like? Anderson?????

  • Denolakes

    DA showed a maddening lack of touch on short routes and check-downs. It seems like he missed a lot of opportunities, too, leaving the best plays on the field. I really wanted him to succeed; it would’ve been a cool story. It’d be nice to have a very cool success story in Cleveland. We’re way overdue. But, he played his way to this spot. Nobody would even be having this conversation as BQ would be in a different uniform and Cleveland might have another monster LB had DA showed up last year. It felt bad in pre-season and got progressively worse. You gotta give the rock to BQ and hope you aren’t QB shopping next draft.

  • terry

    You people just don’t get it do you??? You just have to try to put the blame on one man when this is and always will be a TEAM sport. Not a QB sport. You guys are so scared that Quinn is not going to cut it that you are willing to put hate in your hart for anderson. I real browns fan will say put the guy in that gives us the bast change to win. I went to the training camp and what i saw was anderson putting the ball up so the rec had a change for it. And Quinn is doing ok but looks just like he did last year. Anderson looks like he did in 2007 i was shooked that he looked that good. But they both have there good and bad. Anderson still has a great long pass but on the short pass he’s not much better than he ever was. Then Quinn looks good on the short pass but not on the long ball. Its not the QB’s fauit that this team had a bad year. Agian its the teams fauit I think anderson or Quinn can win if we play as a team but if we don’t play as a team we wouldn’t win with Tom Brady as QB You need to look at it like this the brown could have the best 1 and 2 QB’s in the NFL now we just need the rest of the team to show up….

  • BrownsOrNo1

    I have to agree with Eric…Anderson threw tons of passes at the recievers feet and never could get a grasp under pressure or playing from behind, in other words, he chokes unless minimal amouts of presure, thats NOT a starting quarterback after watching this guy.

    Is he the whole offensive problem? NO, but that dog won’t hunt as a starter.
    Do anyone remember the short 5 yards passes he had trouble completing last year? was I watching those games alone?

  • lvnlgnd

    Quinn threw a 60 yard Td pass and hit Leggett right in the hands in the middle of the endzone at the scrimmage sunday.How far does he have to throw it?Some people are just hard-headed.Matter of fact without Racliff swapping series with D.A. it woulda been a shutout!