Derek Anderson Wins Round Two in Cleveland Browns QB Competition

Kevin LContributor IAugust 25, 2009

CLEVELAND - SEPTEMBER 16:  Brady Quinn #10 and Derek Anderson #3 of the Cleveland Browns look on during the NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals at the Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 16, 2007 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Round Two of the Cleveland Browns Quarterback derby goes to Derek Anderson, I guess.

Getting the start against the mighty Lions of Detroit, Anderson connected on 8-13 passes for 130 yards as he looked kind of reminiscent of the '07 enigma that went to the Pro Bowl.

Anderson's first drive got off to a promising start with a nice pump fake and 24-yard strike on a double post to Mohamed Massaquoi. But anytime you get something good from DA, that just means you're due for something bad, and he quickly delivered as he under threw a wide open Braylon Edwards down the left sideline.  Anyways, Anderson regrouped and fired a very nice skinny post to Josh Cribbs on third and nine.

Even better, the Browns would ultimately rediscover the end zone on a four yard touchdown run by Jamal Lewis.

DA's second drive was less than stellar, though it started in very good field position (just outside the red zone) after an Eric Wright pick. On first and ten, Anderson threw a very ugly slant behind Edwards. I mean, it was a really bad throw.

He would eventually get sacked on third down and the Browns would have to settle for the field goal.

Not a good possession for  DA and the Browns.

Still, points are points, which are more enjoyable than turnovers, so I guess beggars can't be choosers. Scoring on two out of two possessions is a good thing, even if it is against the Lions.

The scoring bonanza would continue on Anderson's next drive. This series was highlighted by a very nice 35-yard completion off of play action to Edwards. This was a very decisive throw by Anderson and brought back the glory days of the DA and Braylon connection.

His last series of the first quarter included a strong throw to Steve Heiden, which was good to see. However. Anderson's drive was cut short as the quarter ended and he was replaced by Brady Quinn.

Like Quinn a week ago at Green Bay, Anderson reentered the game to run the two-minute drill. Anderson played it safe by throwing nothing but check downs to James Davis: two were caught, one was dropped, and then the inevitable pick occurred off an errant, high throw.    

Brady Quinn, meanwhile, saw his little over two drives marred by shoddy line play and penalties.

To begin, Quinn entered on third and one. This is never a good situation for a quarterback, but structure and rules are actually part of the Browns organization now, and Eric Mangini stuck to his intended rotation. Regardless, Brady failed to recognize the blitz on play action and was promptly sacked after a very poor block from the pulling Eric Steinbach.

Quinn began his first legitimate drive with a nice 24-yard throw off of play action to Brian Robiskie.

Two things here: First , offensive coordinator Brian Daboll is using a ton of play action. And second, Quinn has great footwork in the pocket.  On the completion to Robiskie, Quinn stepped up nicely in the pocket and delivered a strike before the safety could get over in coverage. Again, this is the Lions. But were still the Browns. It was nice to see.

Quinn also delivered a nice third and five slant to Mike Furrey that was negated by an illegal formation penalty on John St. Clair.

Quinn's second drive began with a nice check down off of play action to James Davis. This was called back as St. Clair was called for yet another penalty, this time for holding. Quinn went play action two more times this drive (not counting the screen to Lewis that went for nothing). The first was to Cribbs on what I believe was a dig. The throw was deflected, but still ended up on target and nearly hauled in.

That being said, Quinn continues to  do an excellent job of finding holes in zone coverage.

The other  time the Browns went play action, Quinn was hit as he attempted to go deep to Edwards. Two things contributed to this. One, Quinn waited too long as the Lions brought pressure from the secondary. He recognized where to go with the ball, just a little late. And two, Hank Fraley got beat pretty convincing by his man.

That was it for Quinn in a very limited snapshot of playing time. Still, he continues to be solid. The pocket presence is there, the reads are there, and he continues to show pretty good arm strength

But to be fair, Round Two of the competition must be given to Derek Anderson.

He moved the offense for the most part, and points were actually scored. 

He was also provided with pretty comfortable pockets and even easier  reads, as the combination of the Lions pass rush and coverage is quite depressing. (To give you an idea, Shaun Smith was cut by the Browns and instantly becomes a starter for Detroit, not to mention that their secondary is anchored by Anthony Henry.)

Nonetheless, Anderson had his moments , and looked like he could be a legitimate backup after all.