It's been about one hour since the Browns lost 14-11 to the Redskins. A late rally came up wide right on a 54 yard missed Dawson field goal. The game left me looking for answers. How can the Browns compile 454 total yards, 35 points, and no punts in their Monday night victory over the Giants just six days ago and only 236 total yards,11 points, and 8 punts in a dismal offensive effort today?
True, the defense was far from perfect. The Browns D yielded 193 rushing yards today (175 to Clinton Portis). Far too many. But they yielded 181 yards rushing to the NY Giants Monday night in a run-away victory. The Browns went into the season expecting to do better against the run, but knew their best chance to win was to score, score, and score some more. Sorry to say, but they haven't been scoring. Through six games they have managed just nine touchdowns. Take away the four they had against the Giants, and they have averaged one touchdown in their other five games.
So, why the inconsistent offense? Some of it is injury related. No Joe Jurevicius this year. Donte Stallworth missed the first four games. Braylon Edwards has dropped way too many passes, including three more today. Jamal Lewis runs hard, but his numbers are down from last year. Perhaps the gas in his tank is getting low. However, despite these issues, they should have more than nine touchdowns and 15 points per game. After all, they do have their all star QB Derek Anderson................ right?
Well, after some thought the problem came to me as clear as my Mom's dinner bell calling me in from the playground as a child. It's the inconsistency of our quarterback Derek Anderson. He misses receivers wide right, wide left, low, and high way too much. The ball sails over the head of Jamal Lewis, Harrison, Vickers, Cribbs, and any other Brown that receives out of the backfield way too much. Derek Anderson is slow, and can't run for a first down when necessary. Today's two minute drill looked like they were taking a walk in the park. Where was the urgency? Why does a play have to come in from the sideline each time? Can't Derek Anderson remember more than one play? Does he know how to audibilize, or does O-Coordinator Chudzinski just not have the confidence in him to let him try? DA's leadership abilities appear shaky and as suspect as the touch on his passes.
Last week we saw Atlanta's Matt Ryan throw a 20 yard touch completion with six seconds on the game clock to Michael Jenkins on the sideline. This pass got his team in range to win on a field goal. That single pass told me a lot about Ryan. Today with about 30 seconds on the game clock I saw Anderson throw a fifteen yard incompletion down the middle low and away from a wide open Braylon Edwards. If completed, Anderson's pass would have resulted in a first down and gotten the Browns into more realistic field goal range. That single incomplete pass is a microcosm of what I am beginning to think about DA. He has a strong arm, but is inconsistent and can not be counted on in the clutch. To put it in plain and simple terms, DA has to put that pass on Edwards number 17.
I don't know if the playoffs are out of reach or not. Pittsburgh seems to be running away with the division. I do know if the Browns are to go down I want them swinging all the way. Brady Quinn has been learning on the sideline for almost 1 1/2 seasons now. The Browns have a strong offensive line and can protect Brady from harm. The time has arrived to give Brady Quinn his chance. I don't know that Brady Quinn is the answer, but am beginning to feel very strongly that Derek Anderson isn't.