Astonished is probably the best way to describe my feelings towards the Browns fan base right now.
Derek Anderson's first few games in the NFL made him look like a guy who was playing in the NFL for the first time. No big surprise. There were few moments of promise.
The next season, year two of his playing career, he lit up the NFL. His line protected him and he got rid of the football. He was only sacked 14 times. His running game was mediocre. He had a good corps of receivers: Edwards, Winslow, and Jurevicius. Plus, the running backs accounted for 500 passing yards.
Maybe I should repeat some things. He had a good receiving corps. Did everyone hear? They weren't great. They weren't league-best. They didn't pick Anderson up and carry him to the Pro Bowl. They were good. Better than average. But not elite.
Edwards still dropped balls...plenty of them, actually. He didn't make the Top Five in receiving yards. But for the most part, when it was thrown to him, he did his job as an NFL starting receiver and caught it. Congrats. Winslow played well, but two other TEs in the league had more passing yards.
Jurevicius was the first Brown to break a Top Five list. Slowest WR. But I really like him. He is a big, dependable guy. He helped on the short routes a ton and was a big part of the reason Anderson didn't get sacked. The running back corps wasn't elite at running or catching. But they did OK at both.
Fast forward to 2008. The team's starting wide receivers (Edwards and Jurevicius) led the NFL in drops and were hurt all season, respectively. The new No. 2 wide receiver, Stallworth, had a total of 170 receiving yards. Two Cleveland RBs and WR Syndric Steptoe beat that.
The star tight end? Hurt half the season. His backup is a 32-year-old, 270 lb. blocker. The running backs disappeared from the receiving list.
It gets better. The line is about as impenetrable as Pamela Ander....Now that's just dirty. But come on. They let how many QBs get hurt? .
Leading 2008 Receivers
Edwards: Led NFL in drops
Winslow: Hurt or MIA half the season
Hieden: 32-year-old, 270 lb. blocker
Lewis: Slow, power back
Find me a QB that could work with this.
Moving on, Brady Quinn has not proven anything. He lost almost every big-time game he played in at ND. There's a reason he slipped so far on draft day. Is he well-spoken? Yes. Does being a good talker win you football games? No. The only Top Five Quinn made it on was your girlfriends' fantasy list.
All of that being said, I think we need to pick a QB and stick with him. I think it will probably be Brady. I am not saying Quinn is a bad QB, but I am saying he is unproven.
Fans need to realize that nobody in Anderson's position would have been successful.
Since I was old enough to watch football, the Browns have sucked. I still love them. They still are my team. But let's face it, they have sucked. Anderson gave this city hope. He isn't the sexy pick, but the guy played well. It was the first time in a long time that Cleveland could look back at a season and be proud.
Then everything goes wrong in 2008 and fans all jump on the bandwagon. That's disloyal. Anderson deserved better.
Thank you, Derek Anderson, for the 2007 season. I am sorry the '08 season didn't go well and, if you do leave, I wish you the best of luck.
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