Is Cleveland Going Back To Derek Anderson The Right Decision?

Kevin Roberts@BreakingKevinSenior Writer ISeptember 30, 2009

CLEVELAND - AUGUST 29:  Derek Anderson #3 of the Cleveland Browns passes to a receiver against the Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns Stadium on August 29, 2009 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

These days, the "golden boy" just doesn't look that golden, anymore.

Last year we saw Brady Quinn's first go-around as the starter leave the Cleveland faithful with a bittersweet taste in their mouths. They saw what he was capable of in a 239-yard and two touchdown effort against the Denver Broncos.

And then they saw what we're seeing now.

While much of Quinn's poor play through the next two games was due to a broken finger, no touchdowns and two interceptions still didn't sit well with the coach at the time, Romeo Crennel.

Especially when he was trying to keep his job.

Last year, Crennel began the season with 2007's unlikely hero, Derek Anderson, who was fresh off of 29 touchdowns and nearly 3,800 passing yards.

With Braylon Edwards battling the "dropsies", the running game never really taking off, and Kellen Winslow visiting the hospital due to "undisclosed" (at the time) groin issues, DA had quite a bit of trouble.

Regardless, the season ended with Anderson failing to top 2,000 yards or 10 scores, and saw Ken Dorsey quite likely getting his last chance as a starter in the NFL as he threw zero touchdowns to seven interceptions enroute to Cleveland dropping its last five contests.

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Fast forward to the 2009 off-season. New coach, new philosophy, same old problem.

Eric Mangini probably new what the rest of us new. That neither Brady Quinn nor Derek Anderson are elite quarterbacks right now (and may never be), and there was no way Brett Favre was coming to Ohio to help Mangini (or try to).

Even protecting the identity of his starter up until the last second didn't help Mangini and co., either, as the Browns fell to Minnesota (Favre's team, no less) 34-20, and only produced one offensive touchdown (their only of the season).

But at least we were seeing a little progress. Quinn wasn't blowing anyone away, but he didn't have the best stage for it, either.

In the first three weeks, he went up against a stout Vikings defense, an under-rated Denver defense, and last week he got the formidable Baltimore Ravens.

After going just 6-8 with an interception and failing to move the offense, Mangini had seen enough. It was Derek Anderson time again.

Anderson stepped in, moved the ball decently, but then proceeded to throw three first-half interceptions, as the Browns eventually got blown out, 34-3.

And now Anderson is the starter? How does that work out?

Perhaps Mangini feels the chord of "no wins" wrapping around his neck.

Maybe Anderson showed him something. After all, he did move the ball better than Quinn did, and he does have a better history and connection with their star receiver, Braylon Edwards.

But can we really expect a change? Can we really hope for progress?

That all depends. After three weeks of one touchdown, a mere 22 total offensive points and six interceptions, how can they actually get worse?

Well, there are ways. Believe that.

With one more match with Baltimore, and two contests with Pittsburgh, the division schedule promises to not take it lightly on Anderson and this Cleveland offense.

You know it's bad when people stop analyzing why the team isn't using Josh Cribbs more in the Wildcat, and just flat-out suggesting to put him in as the starting quarterback.

Come to think of it, that may not be such a bad idea.

On a team running out of quarterbacks to waffle on, and with no Ken Dorsey to use as a scape-goat to end the season, what will Mangini do when Anderson falters, as well?

To say Mangini is already on the hot-seat is putting it mildly. If he can't find a way to get Anderson and the offense going, he might finally find himself out of options.


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