Quinn or Anderson: A Look Back on the Denver Game

Mike GCorrespondent IMarch 16, 2009

Throughout the season, (I missed a couple of games) I took play-by-play notes on each Cleveland Browns game.  Obviously, one of the most interesting was the Denver game, in which Brady Quinn made his first start.  Throughout this analysis, I talk about what Quinn did better/worse than Derek Anderson.  

In summary, Denver's defense was horrible (missing Champ Bailey and DJ Williams) and Anderson would have had an incredible game as well. Quinn seemed to make quick, yet not always correct reads, and adds mobility that Anderson doesn’t have.  

In addition, he certainly forced less balls then Anderson, and made two or three that Anderson wouldn’t have made.

Below is the drive by drive offensive summary, with recaps posted throughout.

Please note, not all comments are about Quinn, as this is a play by play recap of the offensive portion of the game.


Offense Drive 1

You could have placed a $1 million bet that we’d run on first down.

Good to see the starting Winslow, Stallworth and Edwards all starting for only the second time all season.  It figures that it happened with 2 lineman hurt.

Quinn made wrong read on his first pass, he had the out wide open. Good throw to Steptoe.  It sucks that Syndric can’t break a tackle (probably b/c he’s 185 lbs and shouldn’t be in the league)


Offense Drive 2

Cribbs was really close at breaking the return.  He’s very good at reading his blocks.  Very good job in re-signing him this off-season.  It’s hard to replace a good return man who’s also a gunner (that’s two roster slots)

I love how Donte’ doesn’t back away from hits.  Good route, good catch.

Lewis is a good runner, but sometime he runs a little too low. I’m nitpicking b/c I was so wrong in thinking he was done after last year.  Great block by Dinkins

Lewis is scary when he gets to second  level.  He’s a beast. Browns can run pretty well against the Broncos (most teams can)

It’s good to see Fraley get some push on goal line (he can’t beat bigger guys, but is stronger than guys his size)

I don’t get a pitch play to Lewis, struggles inside the 5 continue. I don’t know why they don’t split Braylon and Winslow and throw a fade, especially without Champ on the field.

Great job sticking in the pocket by Quinn, and a beautiful pass.  Dumervil embarrassed Shaffer, who somehow is getting worse as the season progresses.  He belongs at guard. The browns need to draft a RT who can pass protect.


Offense Drive 3

Great blocking by the line.  I’m getting a Hadnot jersey.  Not sure why Steptoe was in the backfield expected to block (he dove in front of his guy well)

I like the screen.  Not sure why Collinsworth is living in Quinn’s jock strap.  He’s made 1 good read and 1 bad one, and threw two short passes to open receivers.  This is praise worthy?

Great moves making two guys fall down by Harrison on the run .  Heiden and Shaffer made great blocks.  Maybe it’s a Hieden jersey (depends on how many years he has left on his contract.)

Thomas can lock down a defensive lineman. He’s great.

Cribbs had a great block, this is what Steptoe couldn’t do the beginning of the season.

Good pass by Quinn, but that would have been an incredible catch by Braylon.

Great block by Edwards on the crack back. It’s good to see him throwing his body around.  People who horse collar tackle should be shot.

Again, decent run by the browns, look for a reverse soon

Quinn made a good pass in overthrowing Edwards.  Made a bad read (number 2), but knew to throw it more or less uncatchable

Again another bad read (number 3) on forced pass to Heiden.  He had Wright in the flat.


Analysis after 3 drives

Quinn isn’t making all the right reads, and seems to be eager to get the ball out of his hands (not necessarily a bad thing à see Charlie Frye who loved getting sacked then trying to throw the ball). 

He’s been throwing very accurately (which was a knock on him from college). 

It will be interesting to see how he develops in the game.  He seems to not trust his pass protection.  This is probably a result of not having a “feel” for when the protection breaks down. 

Also, having all three top passing threats helps (Anderson only had this once during the season, against the Redskins) Collinsworth has been giving a pretty accurate analysis, but I sense he wants Quinn to succeed. 

In a related story, Collinsworth is the one of the best announcers in the league. They should find a way to have him call every game.  The only person I like more is Kosar.


Offense Drive 4

Ali isn’t as good a blocker as Vickers, and wasn’t able to open the hole on first down.

Again, Quinn seems to be very quick to get rid of the ball.  I’d like to see him hold on to the ball longer to see what opens up.  It was a good throw to Heiden

Good pass by Quinn, great play by Winslow beating the coverage to score


Offense Drive 5

Winslow makes a great catch on an under throw by Quinn.  Shaffer beat again by Dumervil.

Decent blocking on the right side.  Shaffer is a good run blocker.

Quinn makes really good quick reads.  Exceptional third and 2 conversion, looking off Winslow and throwing to Heiden.  Anderson doesn’t make that play.  (the first one of the day that showed why he’s better than Anderson).  Nothing was impressive before then.

Again, another way too quick throw by Quinn, he had plenty of time and forced it - although with the way Tucker is (not) blocking Dumervil, I understand this hesitation.  Winslow bails him out on the catch (absolutely incredible catch)

I have no idea what Crennel was doing letting the clock run down.  He’s an idiot.  Just because Dawson made the kick, doesn’t make it the right call.  At fourth and 2 from the opponents 35 you go for it.


First  half analysis

Quinn is playing well, probably made 1 play that Anderson wouldn’t have (third and 2 conversion).  Winslow’s bailed him out on two bad passes, and helped him with one TD score. 

He makes very quick reads, which is a great sign, but may actually do better by holding on to the ball a little longer. Anderson tended to force balls and waited longer to throw. 

Keep in mind Denver’s defense is horrible, and doesn’t have its best two players, Champ and Williams.  Champ’s the first or second  best corner in the league (Asomugha – Raiders).  I think Anderson probably would have put up similar numbers


Second half

First Offensive drive

Good start to second  half, Brady put the ball on money to Edwards, who made a great move on the slant (and catch). Lewis had a decent run, not much push by McKinney.  They running with more success to the right, b/c McKinney doesn’t move people, just earns a draw at best. 

Quinn’s pass to Ali was behind him, which forced the carry for no gain. second time Quinn faced third and long, he did an incredible job of avoiding an unblocked defender and finding the open receiver (Stallworth).  This is a play Anderson doesn’t make.   

Quinn did a good job stepping up in the pocket and forced a ball to Braylon (good play by Dre Bly).  Great direct snap play to Cribbs who made the LB look like McGinnest (whiff on an open field tackle).

Another good job by Quinn moving in the pocket.

Ali made a terrible block that allowed Lewis to get tackled for a loss.

Again, Quinn threw the pass too early and missed Winslow – again probably due to not having a good feel for timing, results in field goal


Second  offensive Drive

Cribbs is a very good return guy. He’s fearless, and reads his blocks well.

Decent run by Lewis to the right, for 1 yard gain.  Hole opened by Heiden and Shaffer.

Bad pass by Quinn to Edwards on the out.  Big third down coming up.  Third time he’s faced this (1 success, 1 failure so far) Winslow makes an unbelievable catch on a tipped ball (Anderson’s pass doesn’t get tipped because of his height)

Play action pass, left Lewis open.  Quinn looked deep briefly then threw underneath to open receiver.  On next play Lewis, for a change, doesn’t knock over the DB in the hole. Leaves third and 4 which the Browns run a sweep to Harrison (weird call)

I like the aggressiveness on going for it on fourth and 1.  Great effort by Lewis.  I love the fact that it was a quick snap. Collinsworth gave Ali credit for a good block but he missed it.  On the next play he missed again. (Vickers is much better)

I don’t get how WR (Edwards) jump offside.  Just look at the ball, then run.

Another quick read by Quinn, throwing to the open Heiden.  It’s again a quick, underneath pass.  It’s tough to compare Quinn to Anderson b/c they seem to be calling different types of plays.  Regardless, Chud seems to have a good feel for what works and what doesn’t with Quinn

Great pass on the run by Quinn to Edwards.  Great catch by Edwards. (called back on Winslow penalty). Slip screen from Quinn to Stallworth on third  and 16.  I don’t get this play.  I’d like to see them try and get Braylon isolated down field.


Third Offensive Drive

Cribbs is an incredible return guy.   Have I mentioned it before?

Good play fake (they had set this up earlier) but everyone was covered.

Thomas could have done better in blocking down field on a sweep to Harrison

Good pass to Winslow, on his back shoulder.  Even better job of the broncos forcing the fumble


Fourth offensive drive

Bad read on first play by Quinn.  He had three open guys and needed to give them another half second to clear the coverage.  Threw it to the most covered guy.

Great reverse to Cribbs.  He’s a real weapon that Chud is using very well.  He runs really hard and isn’t afraid to knock someone over.  This is the reverse that I saw coming earlier

Good block by both Thomas and surprisingly Steptoe, to get 3 yards on a sweep.

Shaffer beat again by Dumervil, browns need to give him some help.  Winslow looked fast on the route.

Woodyard (LB for Broncos) has been impressive.  Stayed at home and makes the play on another Cribbs reverse.

Another great job of Quinn getting away from the pass rush (Shaffer again getting beat). 

Good slant by Stallworth, comes up a yard short.  Big short yardage play coming up.  Browns have been bad all season in this situation. 

Same play, almost same result, but Lewis fought through Thomas to get in.


Fifth offensive Drive

65 yards to go—Quinn’s first big drive

Good read to Winslow underneath.  . . Horse collar should have been called but wasn’t.  Quinn moves really well in the pocket.

Quinn moved to early away from the pocket on second down. 

On third down, makes a bad throw to wright, at his feet.

Winslow had the ball go right threw his hands. 

Winslow played a very good game, bad time to drop the pass.  Despite what Collinsworth said, I have no issue with Lewis not in the game in this situation . Wright is a better pass catcher and blocker, so he belongs in the game if you decide to pass.  Certainly, running was an option, but the Browns are very bad in short yardage situations (especially with McKinney in the game).


Second half analysis

More of the same mentioned above, with two more notes: 1) Quinn’s ability to move slightly in the pocket and avoid pressure is incredibly impressive based on two factors a) first real game in a long time b) Shaffer can’t block Dumervil.  2) I absolutely loved him taking full fault for the loss. 

This is what leaders do.  He covered for bad play calling, and dropped passes.  The team will get behind him because he’s willing to take the blame for other people.


Overall Analysis

Pretty much what I had anticipated.  He makes quick, above average reads and has incredible pocket presence.  I think his performance was helped by a bad opponent, and a full arsenal of play makers (Anderson never had both of these in combination this year), but he certainly did things Anderson couldn’t.

I still feel that it may have been the wrong time to bench Anderson.  I’d have rather seen Anderson put up these numbers, and also lose to Denver to give the browns more trade leverage. 

Now we have to hope that the Browns can package Anderson for a No. 2 based on his performance last year, and someone paying close attention to the lack of support he had this year.


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