Dawgs Of War: Cleveland Browns' Quarterbacks
"The one", who could line up under center and lead this team. So far? They've found nothing, but candidates who don't stick.
Ty Detmer, Doug Pederson, Spergon Wynn, Kelly Holcomb, Jeff Garcia, Luke McCown, Trent Dilfer, and Charlie Fry. Those are the names of the men who attempted to head up the QB position since 1999.
Holcomb to his credit, threw for 429 yards in the Brown's only playoff game since returning to the league. That of course was against the Pittsburgh Steelers who came back in the fourth quarter and dispatched of their AFC North foe.
Fast forward to 2009 and here we are again. Two men capable of starting, two men who could lead this team.
However, two men that are surrounded by question marks. This version of "Controversy: Cleveland" has a bit of a twist to it, one man lead this team to a 10-6 season, just missing the playoffs.
The other? Has not been given his chance. So I attempt to break down the best fit for Cleveland this season.
Quite possibly the most important aspect to the Quarterback position. Neither Quarterback has shown consistency.
Derek Anderson two years ago shocked the league with his pin point passes, his arm strength, and on occasion, his feet.
Since then he's been a fish out of water. Interceptions, bad passes and the inability to avoid pressure led to laundry list of problems for Anderson in 2008.
If Anderson could find it in himself to return to 07 form, the Browns might find a quarterback capable of leading this team back into the playoffs.
At times Quinn finds himself in situations with no way out, or at least, he doesn't recognize the way out.
If Quinn could master the playbook this off-season and get it in his mind that he can play at the NFL level. Cleveland very well could be sitting on a diamond in the rough.
Key for a leader to know when to fire, when to hold off, when to book it out of there. Cleveland, from recent memory, has not had a line able to truly get pocket presence. In 2008, the Browns started to get a line together that could keep pressure off of Derek Anderson, that allowed him to make the deep and accurate throws.
Since then however, the Cleveland line has struggled to hold off the rush for more than three seconds.
Once the pressure is on Anderson though, he struggles to move. Often, he hesitates to take off and that leads to sacks. Brady Quinn on the other hand, when it's time to move? He does.
Quinn diesn't get very far though, he lacks that blazing speed. In a three step, five step drop he can get those steps back quick enough to get at least a yard on the play when he decides to move.
Quinn holds a advantage over Anderson with pocket presence. The difference being in the decision making. Anderson struggles to make decisions while Quinn makes them, good or bad, and sticks with them.
It might not lead to the best outcome but Quinn has never second guessed himself once he decided to throw, or lower the shoulders for a run.
Both players have ridiculous accuracy. They can make the tough throw and get it within the target area. It's important as this Wide Receiver core gets older to know that their QB can get the ball to them.
Anderson is more pin-point than Quinn and gets the nod here. While Brady can get the ball there, he fails to read defenses and often throws the interception.
Until Quinn figures out the time it takes him from release to reception he'll continue to struggle. Often Quinn will throw a floater instead of a laser, a bullet when he needs to throw a touch pass.
Getting the basics down will greatly improve Quinn's chances at getting the start. Right now Derek Anderson holds the advantage in the accuracy department.
Along with accuracy comes power. Both quarterbacks have shown that throwing to Braylon Edwards 30-40 yards down field is an easy task. What effects the outcome of that throw is often the inept hands of Edwards, or a strong defensive back/ safety.
Quinn's arm is younger and if it came down to chucking bombs towards the end of a game he gets the nod.
The difference maker however is the accuracy beyond 30 yards. This is again where Derek Anderson excels. He can make that tight throw with defenders. Quinn is still learning that concept and this may be his biggest flaw.
While Quinn can put the ball wherever, whenever. He can't put it out of reach of defenders. Until Quinn learns to lead receivers away from the defense, Anderson will get the nod.
The last and most important aspect to taking snaps in Cleveland. Anderson and Quinn are unlike any QB's to hold the position before.
Couch, love him or hate him, was a great leader. He demanded respect in the huddle and gave it out ten fold. It wasn't until Couch retaliated against the fans booing him that he lost the reigns of leadership.
Anderson has led this team to a 10-6 record. He doesn't however, have that leadership trait. The swagger, the talk, the walk. He's a good QB but he's a silent QB. He lets the flow of the game dictate how he plays rather than vise-versa.
Quinn on the other hand has exceptional leadership skills but he hasn't been told "your the leader" yet. That's where Quinn struggles.
Quinn gets the nod in leadership. How or why may you ask? Listen to a press conference interview with Quinn. He speaks with confidence, he backs up his guys. He doesn't point fingers, he doesn't talk down to anyone.
He has that swagger, he has that leadership mentality. You don't lead Notre Dame football and forget how to lead overnight. If Quinn were ever told "Your our man." He could become a very dangerous leader.
Dangerous for the rest of the league. Gold for the Cleveland Browns.
The controversy will continue right up until opening night. The front office I suspect will go with the former starter in Derek Anderson.
Though I believe it's time that we tell Brady, "This is your team".
Anderson holds the advantage over Quinn in a lot of areas I covered, however, Quinn is fighting the learning curve as Anderson has been given more snaps, more playing time.
The key of course for success at the Quarterback position in Cleveland comes down to staying healthy, having a line, and making good decisions. It's in these qualities that either quarterback can find themselves starting.
I'm not predicting a playoff run or Super Bowls here. A winning season for starters, that would be nice.
2007 is still a fresh memory in the minds of a lot of Cleveland faithful. Reliving that feeling would be a welcomed change in Cleveland.
Until that day though we'll question, and re-question, the decisions made.
Who needs the drama and suspense of Michael Vick coming home, Tom Brady returning to the field, or Ben Rothlisburger chasing number three? Certainly not Cleveland who has it's own drama, a repeating episode year to year, all fuelled by one theme.
Vincent Cooper, VSN Writer
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