My wife (as many of you already know) isn’t a Browns fan. Sometimes I run Browns things by her just to take the pulse of a non-Cleveland sports fan to see if I’m nuts. Yes, my wife is biased in a way where she wishes the Browns were a better team because it would make her life easier without so many miserable Sundays per year, but that’s where it begins and ends. She has no affinity for any of the players, really, even if she did fall in love with Ben Watson and his adorable family as they were featured on “Road Tested.” Trust me, even that was a tough sell because there’s so much harbored sports hatred for current and former Patriots even as Indianapolis’ rivalry with them kinda left town when they released Peyton Manning. Even all that said, my wife’s response to the Derek Anderson rumors just about sums it all up.
Every coach likes to bring in familiar people who know their styles and systems. Mangini took it to the extreme to the point that he could have been compared to Vanilla Ice, but the further you get into following the NFL the more you realize it’s pretty natural. Holmgren never even coached the Browns, but because his systems were so prevalent in the minds of the organization he ended up bringing Seneca Wallace in. Bottom line being that it isn’t necessarily a bad thing to have some well-respected, experienced advocates on the roster as a head coach implements his system.
But Derek Anderson is a different case altogether. He’s not only a retread for the Browns, but a retread with baggage. No doubt that Anderson is experienced with Rob Chudzinski’s offensive philosophies by this point after playing for him for so long, but that still doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to resurrect the negative feelings of the past for so many Browns fans who watched yet another promising player fall from grace.
When Browns players fall from grace, they don’t land on their feet elsewhere and make the Browns regret they ever let them go. There are no tales of former Browns sticking it in their eye that come to mind. Brady Quinn didn’t get any revenge this year. Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards haven’t done anything that makes you kick yourself. Brian Robiskie, David Veikune, Eric Wright, Brandon McDonald, Peyton Hillis and on down the line have done very little to stick it to the Browns for letting them go.
Derek Anderson has started nine games since leaving Cleveland and none in the last two seasons. He was 2-7 as a starter in Arizona who desperately hoped he could take over for Kurt Warner after he retired. The then 27-year-old couldn’t do it as he threw seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions even though he had Larry Fitzgerald as a target. The last two seasons, Anderson has backed up Cam Newton and not done a whole lot.
So Anderson is reportedly heading back to Cleveland after leaving in a wake of acidic comments towards the fans and questioning whether they “deserved” a winning football team. Even if you can write those comments off to a combination of emotion, immaturity and disappointment, it’s tough for me to figure out how much value the Browns stand to gain compared to the potential controversy of bringing Anderson back. Even after Anderson left Cleveland fans might have piled on when Anderson was accused of not caring about a losing effort on the Arizona Cardinals sideline. I’m assuming he saw that on Twitter. To even risk that kind of ill will over a presumed backup seems somewhat ill-advised.
Then again, could the Browns possibly be aiming for Anderson to compete for the starting job in Cleveland once more? Keep in mind that this front office didn’t draft Brandon Weeden. Keep in mind that Derek Anderson and his seven years of experience come at an age that is still five months older than Brandon Weeden.
Only in Cleveland, right? I hate to say stuff like that because it lends itself to believing in curses or other such things that I’ve frequently written off as complete and utter nonsense. I don’t believe in voodoo and I certainly don’t believe in curses, but Cleveland sports seems to test that conviction on a strangely consistent basis. The logical side of me just wonders, what’s the worst that could happen? Derek Anderson comes in and makes Brandon Weeden better or somehow (and improbably) stabilizes the QB position. In the end, if Banner, Haslam and now Rob Chudzinski thinks this makes them the best football team to compete in 2013, then so be it. Shouldn’t that be the thought process?
It should be, but I just can’t get there yet. I can’t escape this one big unrelenting question.
Do Banner, Haslam and Chudzinski really think Derek Anderson is some kind of key to the Browns’ success in 2013?
My wife said it best. “Are you kidding me?”