The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

Derek Anderson: QB Score: Week 14

Posted by disappointmentzone on 8 December 2006

Nothing gold lasts, and so it is that the Browns were manhandled by the Steelers last night just days after pulling off an improbably win at home against the Chiefs. Derek Anderson got the start in place of an injured Charlie Frye, and he played well, all things considered. Pittsburgh has a formidable defense and a defensive coordinator who’s known for his complex schemes and blitzes. Anderson had two turnovers but still managed to have one of the best performances by a Browns quarterback this season (not saying much). Not to be overlooked is that he was also the team’s second-leading rusher and had the highest yards-per-carry of any Brown. Of course, when the team rushes for 18 yards on 11 carries and the quarterback has one rush for four yards, well, Michael Vick he ain’t. But he wasn’t sacked, which is nice.

QB Score: 66
QB Score per play: 1.74

The average QB Score per play is 1.1.

Let the controversy begin.

UPDATE: Looks like the conroversy is already beginning.

In today’s Akron Beacon Journal Terry Pluto urges the Browns to let Anderson start next week against the Ravens. On the whole I agree with Pluto, but I have problem with one thing. His lead paragraph: “It’s far too early to suggest replacing Charlie Frye at quarterback with Derek Anderson.” It’s the skilled columnist who’s able to, in one paragraph, suggest the Browns not replace Frye with Anderson, and then a few paragraphs later suggest Anderson be given the start against the Ravens. I suppose what Pluto means is that the Browns shouldn’t just hand over the starting job to Anderson outright. Of course, this is a fairly uncontroversial statement: no right-minded football fan would think that six quarters’ worth of NFL experience is enough to garner a starting job in the NFL, especially for a second-year player who has little back-up experience (Tony Romo he isn’t). This is just poor writing.

That said, it is not too early to suggest that Frye be replaced. Frye has not played well this season. He did not play well last season. A lot of his poor play can be attributed to factors beyond his control, such as a terrible offensive coordinator and offensive line. But no one other than Frye is responsible for some of his other shortcomings, like his arm. Cleveland is a pretty terrible place to be a quarterback with a below-average arm. Outdoor stadium. On a lake. Wind. Cold. All of these factors exacerbate what is arguably Frye’s biggest weakness. What’s more, his release isn’t quick enough to offset any lack in velocity. Frye is not accurate, either. Frye might be an NFL-capable starter, but not all NFL teams are created equally and the Browns probably aren’t the ideal team for him, at least not at the moment.

In giving Anderson the next three starts the aim should not be to resolve the quarterback situation — Frye or Anderson? Anderson or Frye? — and Browns fans will be disappointed if this is their expectation. The aim should be to provide clarity for the off season. If Anderson goes Tony Romo on us, then that means less attention needs to be paid to either drafting or signing a quarterback, which means more attention can be paid to the offensive and defensive lines. But no one should expect a Tony Romo-type performance. If Anderson does well enough that he shows himself able to be a solid back up quarterback, Frye immediately become expendable, which also gives the team leverage in addition to clarity. The only thing that can be lost in giving Anderson a few more starts is Charlie Frye’s confidence, but there is evidence to suggest his confidence abandoned him a long time ago.

For the moment, the smart money is on Anderson.

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3 Responses to “Derek Anderson: QB Score: Week 14”

  1. Erik said

    I maintain my stance that I had after the Kansas City game:

    Anderson looks decent because he’s been allowed to simply play. Frye has been getting barked at by Romeo Crennel and Maurice Carthon for all or part of the season.

    Having Crennel and Carthon teach you about running an offense is kind of like having Michael Richards teach you about racial sensitivity. If you were in Frye’s shoes, you’d also be ready to slam you head in a car door until the voices stop.

  2. Ryan Kosar Graham said

    Terrible Game, Lousy Network, Bad Announcers (Thank God for
    the radio), No Defense, No Offense, It’s hard to believe
    that the Browns lost the “Battle for the Basement” twice!
    NFL Network – another Bad Idea.

  3. The NFL network is a joke. So is Thursday NFL football. So are the Browns.

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