Derek Anderson Named Starting QB – The QB Conundrum Re-Re-Redux

da-groundhogSo, here we are. The smoldering rubble that is the Browns’ first three games are still on our radar, and in addition to the fact that the team has been outscored 95 to 29 we now are right back where we have been so many times before: two mediocre quarterbacks, one starting job.

Derek Anderson “lost” the job in training camp (because saying Quinn “won” it is a stretch), and yet after 10 quarters of lack-luster offensive (and I do mean OFFENSIVE) football, there was #3 under center in the second half on Sunday against Baltimore. If only he had done something to clear the waters. Three bad interceptions later, we’re right back where we started. No offense, no quarterback rising above the fray.

All of that having been said, DA has been named the starter this week against the Bengals. I started out writing this post before the announcement by wondering: “So, if you’re Mangini, what do you do?” I know a lot of you would say, “Fire yourself,” but we’re not here to debate that. What we ARE here to debate, however, is which QB really *should* start under center this Sunday and beyond.

In looking at the data, I myself couldn’t come to a conclusion. I’ve lobbied for Quinn all pre-season, and I think Mangini messed up big time by pulling him, if only from the standpoint of confidence and continuity. However, as the numbers will show, it’s not as though Quinn was somehow wronged egregiously by getting pulled. And, if DA struggles this Sunday, where do you go from there?


The Case for Quinn
Age: 24
NFL Experience: 3rd Season – 7 games played (6 starts)
Measurables: 6’3”, 235#
Career Stats:  93-for-171 (54.4%); 963 yards (5.63 yds/att); 3TD, 5INT; 64.5 RAT

Obviously, we have a small sample size on Quinn. I think his stats have been affected by the lack of talent on offense this year, but Quinn has certainly not risen above that by any stretch. He has been rushed in the pocket due to lack of consistent pass protection, and the overall lack of a consistent running game has made the coverages that much tougher to throw against (since the defense doesn’t have to cheat up to stop the run). But, these factors can’t explain away the fact that Quinn has looked skittish in the pocket, and has been unwilling to make a lot of longer throws (under six yards per attempt? Wow!).

The lack of touchdowns is not a problem unique to Quinn; in fact, the last two games in which the Browns scored offensive touchdowns (Denver and Buffalo last season – [edit, 3:27 PM] – no, I wasn’t counting the TD against the Vikings; it was the definition of a meaningless garbage TD. Also of note is that this article has been up for 4+ hours and no one called me on this oversight) were games that Quinn was the starter. That said, it is alarming that he has only three touchdowns in 171 attempts (a TD every 57 attempts). That said, the silver lining is that he’s been relatively careful with the ball (an INT every 34.2 attempts). However, what can perceived as Quinn’s greatest strength can also be a bit of a weakness. There comes a time when the QB needs to take some chances down the field. I can’t tell you how many times during the Denver game when the Browns were still in the game but were on the edge of falling out of it where I wanted Quinn to take a shot.

The PD’s Dennis Manoloff has been charting Quinn’s performances (h/t to reader Brendon Yarian), and the numbers from Sunday were startling: in his 8 pass attempts (yes, he only threw eight times in the half), he threw the ball a grand total of 32 yards beyond the line of scrimmage (four of his throws were actually behind the line of scrimmage when they got to the receiver). His one long throw (30 yards downfield) was incomplete.

Quinn obviously doesn’t have the arm that Anderson has, but he definitely has more athleticism. This isn’t to say that DA is a horrible athlete, but Quinn is certainly more mobile and is generally believed to be more accurate on the move and on the shorter, check-down passes. To that end, given the offense that Mangini would most likely ideally run (ball control), Quinn appeared to have a leg up. Now, not so much.



The Case for DA
Age: 26
NFL Experience: 6th Season – 32 games played (27 starts)
Measurables: 6’6”, 230#
Career Stats:  517-for-946 (54.7%); 6287 yards (6.65 yds/att); 43TD, 38INT; 73.7 RAT

I have long advocated for Quinn to start during this lost season due to the fact that we have enough of a sample size to know what we have in Anderson. I feel in the interest of being honest I should throw that onto that table at the outset; I tried to pull these numbers and look at this debate as objectively as possible. The fact remains that the situation was ripe for DA to come in and wrestle the job away from Quinn; I think that’s the main reason that Mangini made the move. He wanted to see if DA could take the job convincingly. DA did not do that, sadly.

DA obviously has the bigger arm, and the double-edged sword with DA is that he is willing to take more shots down the field than Quinn. This can be good, as he had more drives that moved the ball on Sunday, and for his career his TD/att ratio is better than Quinn’s (a TD every 22 attempts). It can also be catastrophic, as DA threw three bad interceptions on Sunday, one of which was on a deep ball where he threw into triple coverage while being locked onto his receiver the entire time. Compared to Quinn’s numbers of attempts per INT, DA’s is a much more alarming rate: an INT every 24.9 attempts.

DA’s accuracy has always been a concern; his proclivities for missing passes on shorter routes and throwing balls behind receivers are legendary. He missed a third down pass that sticks in my memory from Sunday where he had Mike Furrey on an out-route, and the ball was at least three feet behind Furrey (and was almost a pick-six the other way).


So, what does all of this mean? Basically, if we look just at the numbers and extrapolate both QBs playing 16 game and throwing 35 times (560 attempts), DA would throw 25 TDs and 22 INTs while Quinn would throw 10 TDs and 16 INTs. This obviously isn’t an airtight prediction; but it is indicative of the differences between the two QBs. With Quinn, you get a more careful, but potentially lower-scoring offense. With DA, you potentially get more points, but you get more turnovers.

The rub that doesn’t show up in the numbers, however, is that DA has almost always had a knack for committing his turnovers at the wrong time. Cincinnati in week 16 of 2007. Baltimore in weeks three and nine in 2008. Indianapolis in week 13 of 2008 (fumble for the only TD of the game for the Colts). It looks, however, as though the idea of actual points despite the potential for more turnovers is a risk Mangini is now willing to take. It won’t matter if you protect the ball more if you’re not moving it at all and not scoring.

Sitting at 0-3, it’s hard for me—as a Quinn supporter—to honestly argue with the move from that standpoint. Unfortunately, there’s no going back from here. Mangini HAS to stick with one QB, feast or famine. He can’t keep going back and forth.

  • Denny



  • DP Diesel

    How about the Ravens games last year when DA lost the first by throwing two picks inside his own 20, one of which went for 6, and then threw a screen pass to Terrelle Suggs to complete the collapse in the second game? Yes, I know Edwards dropped what could have been the coffin-nail TD pass, and that’s not on DA. But, when the chips were down, HE THREW A SCREEN PASS TO THE OTHER TEAM. A SCREEN PASS!!!

  • marco

    #1 This team isn’t going anywhere this year or next.
    #2 DA is a career 54.7% passer, with a 73.4% QB rating, placing him among notables like David Carr and Gus Ferotte.

    It all comes down to what you think BQ’s ceiling is. If you think he could someday better than #2, you play him, as there’s nothing to lose because of #1. If you think he’ll never be able to sniff those numbers, trade him for a bag of balls and move on.

    If Quinn is ever going to be decent, he needs game time to learn. When better than in a lost season? (Actually, Mangini & co should have been realistic about our chances this year, and used the whole preseason as learning time for Quinn.)

  • Rob

    I heart Isis.

    B-Bo, do you really want BQ under center? Or are you just frustrated that we don’t have a QB.

    Wait, that’s wonderful! BQ is the opposite of a QB. Of course, his names are interchangeable as first and sur. What do you think? Think if he changed his name to Quinn Brady he could “turn things around?” – get it? turn things around? BQ – QB. Giggle…

    …seriously though, I don’t mean to sound like a smarty pants. I am just frustrated like the rest of you and believe that you can’t throw 29 TD passes (although certain games skew this stat) on accident. I think we have a former pro bowler and we should at least give HIM a chance. I mean, his receivers didn’t just have a an “off-year” last year; they led the league in drops.

    In other news: I heart Mustard. It’s why Cleveland sports fans are superior in every way. You simply can’t get away with logical fallacies like you can elsewhere. I agree…Cincy sucked. And DA probably does too. But he’s strong, he can make throws Brady can’t. And I would rather see deep throws fail than Dink and Dunk submission. That’s all.

  • Rob

    @ JJ – Look, saying Brady sucked in college is certainly hyperbole. But you know he’s not a big game quarterback. And he never will be.

    Aside from that fact, local obsession with Quinn and ND is the only this was a “competition” to begin with. Otherwise, I firmly believe (and what does that matter, I guess) that DA would have been the starter week 1.

    Let go. It’s just Notre Dame.

  • Scotty
  • MacNip

    The local obsession is with thr young QB, not necessarily Brady Quinn. There was a period of time where everyone wanted Charlie Frye to play. Browns fans know the teams desperately needs a QB, and they also know the QB of the future isn’t DA, so we will grasp on to any kid with a pulse that joins the team with ‘QB’ listed as their position. That’s what happens when your team is pathetic

  • B-bo

    Honestly, Rob, I was not a Quinn fan in his college days. I agree with many of your criticisms and questions of his abilities based on his college credentials. However, I was not against the roll of the dice to pick him up in the draft when we did. Of course, fool that I am, I thought he might be given a chance to play and develop–you know, maybe get more than a handful of games to prove himself capable or not. Turns out, not so much.

    I am frustrated with how bad the team is overall. However, I was not expecting playoffs this year, and was hoping we’d finally give the kid the keys and see what he can do. He has struggled, but not without help (or a lack thereof) from his teammates and coaches. DA had a season-plus to show what he could do, and he did: no mobility, poor decision-making, poor game manager—and that was when this team was going well. BQ, in my mind, should have had this season to show his stuff in games that matter (as in, not preseason or scrimmages). I’m not frustrated that we have no QB, I’m frustrated to think that we might, and we are blowing the opportunity to find out. Not that BQ can or would ever be Peyton Manning, but had the Colts been as badly run as this, they would have never known about Peyton either. The lack of patience is frustrating.

    One thing I think we can all agree on: winning is good. Sadly, I don’t know when we might see it again around here. Dink and Dunk, gunslingin’ interceptions, who cares? Both equal an “L”.

  • Scotty

    My plan:

    1) Trade BOTH Quinn and Anderson
    2) Sign some vet QB to fill in for a year. Culpepper can’t be worse than these guys
    3) Use our loads of draft picks we’d have accumulated for next year and draft a team. Right side of the O-Line, Linebackers, replace McDonald at CB, Safety.
    4) In the 2011 draft, use our high first rounder to get a franchise QB. And stick behind him. The whole time. Every game.

  • Scotty

    My plan:

    1) Trade BOTH Quinn and Anderson
    2) Sign some vet QB to fill in for a year. Culpepper can’t be worse than these guys
    3) Use our loads of draft picks we’d have accumulated for next year and draft a team. Right side of the O-Line, Linebackers, replace McDonald at CB, Safety.
    4) In the 2011 draft, use our high first rounder to get a franchise QB. And stick behind him. The whole time. Every game.
    5) ???
    6) Profit

  • Scotty

    Whoops. sorry for the double post guys

  • Bkohn

    I am a fairly frequent visitor to this site, and sometimes check out the replies to the postings, but this is my first post. So I’ll try to make it significant.

    First, this wasn’t Mangini’s “plan”- to have a quarterback “competition” where he would let Brady win narrowly and then after two and a half games of lackluster play calling just pull him. You’re giving him, DA, Brady AND Daboll too much credit. It seems like the only plan Mangenius has brought to Cleveland is the one that keeps his baby face from getting slapped too often. He’ll make the call which seems to give the lower chance for immediate scorn and derision and let the chips fall where they may. Infantile- yes. Working- No.

    Next- This team is screwed eight ways to sunday. They have half of a line, no significant running attack, a frightened coach, two frightened QB’s, no offensive creativity or threats for big plays, a defense worn thin by all of these woes… and sadly, the hits just keep on coming. I’ve been a browns fan for my entire 23 year span on this earth, and every day it seems to be a little harder. I’m not giving up, but I am considering getting even. Starting sunday I will tailgate, and watch the game at the bar. I’m not pumping any more money into this mistake until the people getting my hard earned checks give me a reason to do so.

    Mr. Lerner, Mangini, Kokonis, I’m waiting…

  • Tsunami

    I have not been impressed with EITHER quarterback this season.

    I was impressed with DA against the Giants last year, and Brady in his first game against Denver last year. Other than that, both have looked uncomfortable and inaccurate.

    But answer yourself this. What quarterback WOULD look good on the Browns right now?

    -We have no running game whatsoever.
    -We have 1 legitimate wide receiver who is a headcase and drops passes regularly
    -The right side of our O-line is in shambles
    -We have a soap opera locker room and an organization that flip flops more than John Kerry

    I’m not saying Quinn/DA are the answer. So far they seem like busts, but historycat brings up a great point about Peyton Manning.

    I really hated the move to bench Brady in the last game simply because I knew it would amount to more of the same crap. Let’s say in all those missed throws BQ actually hit his target. Let’s say he “threw downfield” more. Who is he throwing it to? Edwards in double coverage? Josh Cribbs who doesn’t know how to run a route? Robiskie who’s inactive?

    And they won’t play Furry because they’re rather player Robert Royal.

    How could ANYONE succeed under center with this team and this organization? There’s only one guy that could salvage this team – Dan Gilbert.

  • marco

    DA would be better in the short term, but who cares?

    Win 5 this year instead of 3?

    Big flippin’ deal.

    I rather Quinn has the chance to learn, and we get a better draft pick.

  • DocZeus

    Are we really comparing Peyton Manning’s rookie season with Brady Quinn’s third season now? First off, even though, the Colts were 3-13 and threw 28 interceptions that year, Manning stilll threw for 3,700, 26 touchdowns and set numerous NFL rookie records that year. You could tell instantly Manning had it but just required discipline. Honestly, that bears more resemblance to Derek Anderson than it does Brady Quinn.

  • brwnsgrl

    Is Brian Sipe available?

  • WhereIsBernie

    With only 116 posts as of this post it looks like apathy is kicking in big-time for Browns fans. I know we’ve beaten this topic to death but the lack of posts really shouts at me. I’m still mad and that is better than being apathetic, but I feel apathy coming on.

    BTW – Where is Bernie? Wouldn’t he make a good coach or offensive coordinator? He can practically predict the defensive play before the play is executed when he calls the games. Too bad his commentator voice is a bit better. :)

  • jack

    Bernie was last seen tutoring Vick in the penn trying to work off some of that debt

  • TampaBrett

    I’m rooting for DA. Hope he does well. I bet Braylon is happy.

  • Janet

    Unf***ing believable! Manwich already telling lies and losing the team, his press conference was hideous. I cannot believe that the team that I have loved and defended for 30 years is the laughing stock of the NFL — I think I am done. I am done with the Tribe after the stupid moves they have made. Victor Martinez…….come on! An actual great player that wanted to stay in town. Let him go, let Lee go, on and on and on and now they wonder why the stands are empty. I am not the smartest cookie, but jeez! Especially with the economic situation, do they think people want to go watch something that will frustrate them? I suppose when Grady recovers they will trade him also. Lerner, Dolan all losers. How about getting Shaq and LeBron to buy the Indians and the Browns? I am so ANGRY. But wait, did I hear Cleveland is going to have gay games? What the hell is that? knitting? badmiton? Just what NE OH needs something else for people to make fun of. I FEEL SO SORRY FOR BRADY QUINN. Did you notice when they pulled him they changed the play calling? If he would have only thrown two more picks he would probably would have gotten to stay in. I hope they lose every game. Maybe then Mangenius will get run out of town. Cleveland, Ohio, the greatest fans in the world do not deserve this. I am hearing the players are turning in complaints to the NFL about Eric??? He looks just like Romeo standing there on the sideline with no expression. Call Yellow Cab to escort these jerks out of town. WHEW!!!

  • saggy

    i’m gonna say it one more time: the NY Post (i live in Brooklyn, for those who don’t know) keeps mentioning just how much the players HATED Manstupid. HATED HIM!! now they are a nice squad – and the Browns stink. Ugh, I am beside myself. I just had a baby 5 weeks ago and bought him all sorts of new Browns gear. Im never gonna exchange it for Giants clothes but I am in PAIN watching these guys. I love my Browns – please improve.

  • Denny

    Well, good to see we hit on all cylinders with post # 120. Managed to even badmouth the international competition that will bring an influx of money into the town. Heaven forbid people get laughed at, that’s the worst!

  • saggy

    Springtime for Hitler, and Germany!

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  • Casperxx99

    Just another bad decision from a horrible coaching staff and a horrible franchise. David Carr and Joey Harrington had their chances and failed. Payton and Eli Manning had their chances and are now top 5 QB’s. What happened to the Brady Quinn that played in Denver last year? Was his surrounding talent better? Was the coaching better? Did Mangini & company really shatter his confidence? Who knows…

    The FAKE Mangini interview….

    We’re gonna lose anyway so why not see what we got?

    Mangini: The hell with that! I took a terrible team and made them worse. I got to do something to at least win 2 games, or even Randy Lerner’s man crush will ware off.

    You don’t think you could get 2 wins with BQ?

    Mangini: Well considering I’ve done everything I possibly could to destroy his confidence but castrate him, I don’t know.

    You were going to castrate him?

    Mangini: Yeah, but Daboll lost the knife. Daboll decided to just call crappy plays for him instead. Kokinis made sure to surround him with horrible talent and I used the Josh Cribbs experiment to seal the deal.

    Do you really belive you can get 2 wins out of DA?

    Mangini: Were gonna go out there and throw deep routes and try to do it Steve Spurier style. I really don’t believe the hours of game film on Rex Grossman err DA will show the holes in his game.

    You think this will be more productive for the franchise then finding out if BQ is a Carr or Manning or somewhere in between?

    Mangini: Its better for me. If I don’t win those 2 games, I’m going to end up on my knees waist level with Lerner again. Just like I was when I got hired.

    Do you really believe that winning 2 games will be justification for you to keep your job?

    Mangini: I’ve been doing some mouth exercises just in case its not. I’m sure I can pull off 3 wins next year after we botch the draft.

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  • Janet

    Get this Mangoof out of town ASAP!!!!!!! What a horrible thing he has done. He is, and I can’t believe I am saying this, worse than Romeo. No wonder he offered RC a job to remain with the Browns, they are the same person!