And the winner of Round Three of the Cleveland Browns Quarterback Derby: Brady Quinn.
Quinn continued his steady play Saturday night against the Tennessee Titans.
In four series of action against a very respectable defense, Quinn went 11-for-15 for 128 yards as he led the Browns' offense to a touchdown and two field goals.
After a three and out, Quinn looked every bit in control as he directed a 13 play, 74-yard drive that culminated with a 21-yard field goal by Phil Dawson.
Quinn connected on five straight passes during the drive. Highlights included a nice play action to Mike Furrey (definitely our number three receiver at this point) for 17 yards, a third-and-five conversion off a hot read to Josh Cribbs (our stud return guy and respectable? number two) for 17 yards, and a strong slant to Robert Royal (loved Winslow but Royals seems to be fitting in pretty well with what Eric Mangini and Brian Daboll are trying to do offensively).
Quinn also showed his ability to extend the play. On first and goal from the nine, Quinn escaped from the pocket, realized he didn't have anyone open, and smartly threw the ball away. If you recall, in the first preseason game against the Packers, Quinn was intercepted as he tried to squeeze a throw to Braylon Edwards near the back of the end zone. This time around, Quinn made the safe, smart decision and lived to play another down.
That's called learning from your mistakes, and that's what you want to see from your young quarterback.
Quinn would also take advantage of excellent field position his third series after a Titans' turnover. On first and ten from Tennessee's 34-yard line, Quinn checked down off of play action to Jamal Lewis in the left flat for 14 yards. Quinn went through his reads down-field and took what the defense gave him, which he's done all preseason.
The next play, Quinn made an even better decision. Presnap, he recognized he had a one-high safety look, which led to a tightly thrown skinny post to Braylon Edwards before the safety could get over in help for a 20-yard TD strike.
That's how you capitalize off of turnovers, and that's how you score points in the air. Sadly, this was also the first touchdown pass of the QB Derby.
Derek Anderson, like always, had his ups and downs.
The good: an excellent throw off of play action to Edwards that went for 30 yards. This ball was perfectly delivered on a line to Edwards' back shoulder. I mean, this ball was thrown so accurately by Anderson, I'm convinced it was an accident. Regardless, he also had a couple more nice completions in two series of action, including two third down conversions, the first being a slant to Edwards on third and four.
The bad (aside from his tripping penalty on the sidelines): Anderson continued his trend of leaving his receivers out to dry, throwing a half-assed screen to Royal that nearly got him decapitated. Anderson also missed a wide open Edwards down the left sideline (again), and should have been intercepted as he gift wrapped a present to Titans' cornerback Tanard Davis.
The bottom line is Anderson is just too inconsistent to win the starting quarterback job . Sure, DA has his moments, but his mistakes far outweigh the positives he brings to the table and are often very costly.
That's why it's time to name Quinn the winner and move forward with the season.
It just seems like Quinn has been far more consistent and steady than Anderson this preseason. He's also the much safer option, as he's much smarter and adept at reading defenses than Anderson. Quinn minimizes mistakes, which is what the Browns desperately need from their quarterback.
Once again, he also has much better footwork, pocket presence, and athleticism than Anderson, and is proving to be a much more accurate passer with plenty of zip behind his throws.
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