Derek Anderson's Fall From Grace

Sam SnyderCorrespondent ISeptember 9, 2009

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 14:  Quarterback Derek Anderson #3 of the Cleveland Browns looks on during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 14, 2008 at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. The Steelers defeated the Browns 10-6. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Cleveland Browns head coach Eric Mangini has decided on a starting quarterback, but he isn't telling anyone outside the organization who it is.

His rationale? He believes it will prevent opponents from being adequately prepared to face the Browns come opening day.

"It's more difficult to prepare for two, than it is to prepare for one," he said.

Seriously Eric? Are you seriously pretending that we don't know who you have chosen? We all knew who was going to be the starter from day one. Do you really think that Derek Anderson is going to get a second chance? That the Browns fans were going to allow that?

Brady Quinn will be starting come opening day, regardless of whether or not you tell us.

Derek Anderson's fall from grace has been highly documented. Between being crucified by fans or labeled a "one-year-wonder" by the media, Anderson has been pushed aside for Quinn.

It all started at the Pro-Bowl. After a 10-6 season, the Brown's best since they re-joined the NFL, Anderson threw 29 touchdowns and 19 interceptions and was voted to the Pro-Bowl.

In Hawaii, the 2008 season was foreshadowed in his performance at the game. He threw an interception and was sacked twice. True, it was only an exhibition game, but is was just the hint of things to come.

In the 2008 season, this trend followed. He was injury-plagued all season, threw nine touchdowns, and eight interceptions. While he threw more TDs than INTs, he had a completion percentage of 50.2, had a 66.2 passer rating, and fumbled the ball nine times, with two losses, both career highs.

While statistically it may not be that bad, part of it has to do with the team's lack of success as soon as he was injured. The Browns started 0-3, but hung on and managed to scrape a 4-6 record entering Week 11's matchup vs. the Houston Texans.

That would be Anderson's last game of the season, and maybe his last as a Cleveland Brown.

After he went down, the team didn't win another game. Going 0-6 in the last six games of the season. They only scored 31 points over that stretch and were shut out two times.

Can Derek Anderson really be blamed for his team's shortcomings? No. But it is safe to say that had Anderson not been injured, they would have at least won one more game (Cincinnati).

Unfortunately, critics never look at circumstances or the fine print. All they see is a 4-12 team with a laughingstock for an offense that—once again—returned to its usual spot: The cold, dark cellar of the AFC North.