To be honest, I wasn’t sure this was even much of a debate at this point. This is nothing against Derek Anderson because I think he seems like an overall nice guy. But nice doesn’t win you Super Bowls or get you out of third place in your division. Even Kurt Warner has to rely on his talent at times and he’s the nicest man in the history of the world. There are a number of reasons that make Brad Quinn the logical choice heading into the 2009 season, and here they are:
1) The Browns are desperate for draft picks. One thing that has been learned about the previous front office is that Phil Savage & Friends apparently did not deem the draft to be as important as every other team in the league does. Savage was more content signing aging veterans or trading away draft picks in exchange for veterans to essentially “even it all out.” However, as last year’s putrid draft class excelled in proving how awful the Browns can be at times, a championship team builds through the draft. In order to get the most of out this incredibly important first draft for head coach Eric Mangini and GM George Kokinis, they are going to need as many picks as possible, since Savage left them without a pick in the third, fifth, or seventh rounds.
That’s where Anderson comes in. Believe it or not, teams are still interested in Anderson and would be willing to trade picks (i.e. Minnesota). It might be a year too late, as the Browns could have gotten a first and third-rounder last season when Anderson’s stock was at its highest. However, at this point, anything would be greatly appreciated. At least a second-round pick for Anderson could be possible.
2) You know what you are getting with Anderson. There will be no magical turnaround for him and, suffice it to say, he simply does not have the capabilities to carry a team to the playoffs. Bring up the 2007 season all you want, but a large part of the collapse was due to the fact that defenses were beginning to figure Anderson out. By the end of the year, he was nothing but a mere mortal, barely throwing more touchdowns than interceptions in the second half of the season.
Granted, Quinn is young (sort of) and largely unproven, but what in the world do the Browns have to lose at this point? Most people agree that Quinn is the future of the franchise, so what is everyone waiting for? Like the revamped coaching staff and front office, Quinn represents the new movement and a fresh face to the franchise. Anderson has shown me nothing that would make me excited to see him as the starter going into next season. Instead, it would be terribly frustrating to see Quinn waste away on the bench as a quarterback who can barely complete fifty percent of his passes starts in front of him (and don’t try to blame Braylon Edwards’ drops on that statistic either – it wouldn’t make the percentage much better).
3) Speaking of his completion percentage, Anderson completed only 50.2% of his passes in 2008 in ten games (nine of which he started). Add to that only 9 TDs and 8 INTs and you have one of the worst years, statistically, of any quarterback last season. Quinn only completed 50.6% of his passes for 2 TDs and 2 INTs, but that was in his first three games in the NFL. And if you really want to make the argument that there is no difference between the two, the Browns might as well go with the QB with an actual upside.
I believed Brady Quinn should be the starter for the Browns in 2009 once I saw the game against the Buffalo Bills in November. Yes, Quinn was 14/36 for 185 yards, but he did a magnificent job of managing the game. Without ever throwing an interception, he was able to lead a drive down the field with a little over two minutes left in the game, giving way to a 56-yard field goal from Phil Dawson that sealed the win.
These are just a few reasons why it would be a near-travesty to find Derek Anderson as the starting quarterback heading into 2009. The Browns and the fans need a fresh start, and Anderson, unfortunately for him, represents the mediocrity of the former front office and coaching staff. On the other hand, Quinn was left largely untainted. Let’s hope Kokinis and Mangini make a decision on this soon to get it out of the way. Something tells me this won’t be left up to a coin flip, either.