Posted on: August 27, 2009 5:29 pm

It's Brady Quinn Time

I must say to myself and anyone else listening that the Brady Quinn versus Derek Anderson controversy is starting to piss me off.  In February I explained why it was time to commit to Brady Quinn and trade Derek Anderson while his value was at it's highest.  Well ok, the Browns didn't trade Anderson.  No biggie, after all, he should make a good backup.  However, there will be a price to be paid for not commiting to Quinn sooner, and an even bigger price to pay if they decide to start Anderson.

By treating Quinn and Anderson as equals in a late summer quarterbacking duel, neither QB is getting sufficient reps with the starting line-up to be effective in early season games.  Some will wonder how I can be so sure Quinn is the starter with his three or so games of NFL experience.  My point exactly.  I can't be sure, and now is the time to find out.  I know Aaron Rodgers waiting in the wings a lot longer than two years behind Bret Farve, but Derek Anderson is no Bret Farve.  Quinn should not have to wait behind Derek Anderson.

Derek had ten or so very nice games in 2007, and has shown very little since.  What he has demonstrated is a propensity to throw interceptions and the inability to put touch on his short passes.  With the limited offensive talent Mangini has, he really has no choice except to try for a ball control type offense that Quinn and his soft passes is much more capable of directing.   Try that offense with Anderson, and his bullet passes from five-ten yards away will result in incompletes and interceptions on deflections.  At least with Quinn there is a chance.

Commit to Quinn and end the controversy now... Let him play as the starter in practices and the last two pre-season games and give the team a chance to be prepared against the Vikings on September 13. 
Category: NFL
Posted on: February 15, 2009 11:18 am
Edited on: February 16, 2009 9:26 pm

The Browns must end their QB Controversy

Let's flash back together to April 2007:  Brady Quinn was one of a few players invited to the NFL draft in person that year.  He was a star Notre Dame  quarterback and one of the "better looking" prospects....... at least the ladies thought so.  He was projected to be drafted in the top 10.  Many "experts" thought the Browns might pick him up using their #3 pick as an insurance policy should Derek Anderson or Charley Frye not pan out.  However, the Browns desperately needed offensive line help, and selected LT Joe Thomas out of Wisconsin with their #3 pick.  At that moment of Thomas' selection, many local ladies hearts were broken as the attractive Columbus Ohio native and Notre Dame almunus surely would not be around come the second round.

However, even after selecting Joe Thomas, Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel had not taken their eyes completely off Brady Quinn.  As the draft progressed, the camera periodically returned to Brady Quinn and his very young and attractive blonde girl friend sitting by his side supporting him.  She was perfect eye candy for the largely male draft audience.  As the draft progressed into the late teens, Brady was beginning to look visibly uncomfortable.  You know he was wondering how far his contract potential was dropping as teams continued to not select him.  At this point, the draft was starting to get very interesting to Savage and Crennel.  In a bid to draft Brady, they traded their 2008 1st round pick to Dallas for their 22nd pick in the current draft.  In hindsight, the move backfired on Dallas, as the Browns won ten games in 2007, and the pick they got was not nearly as high as they no doubt expected.

When Brady was still unselected after the 21st. pick, the Browns selected Quinn at #22 and had gotten a first round LT and QB in the draft, and it was Miller time in Cleveland. 

Brady and his agent foolishly held out for a better contract during most of the 2007 training camp, and Frye and Anderson both stunk up the joint during pre-season.  As a rookie, Brady may not have been ready anyway, but as a late camp arrival stood no chance to earn the starting job.  Even as Anderson excelled in most of 2007 leading the Browns to 10 wins, many Brown's supporters knew in their hearts the Columbus Ohio native was in the end going to be the starter for the Browns some day. 

Romeo Crennel made the decision about half way through the dismal 2008 season to start Brady.  After about three starts, a broken finger in the Bufallo game put him on the DL.  Quinn looked okay, but only got an incomplete for his performance in my eyes.  Three games isn't enough to make a judgment.  For what it is worth, it's a fact and a dubious NFL record that the Browns did not score an offensive touchdown in any of the remaining six games with Quinn on the DL.  That would not have happened if Quinn had been able to start.

An embattled Romeo Crennel had seen enough of Brady Quinn to announce he would start the 2009 season after his injury.  Romeo's words meant little however, as few expected he would survive the offseason.  When he was fired immediately after the season ended along with the GM Phil Savage, the QB controversy of Anderson versus Quinn was rekindled.

It is time for the new team of Mangini and Kokinis to end that controversy.  It is time the local native Brady Quinn who was so astutely and cleverly selected in the 2007 draft be named starting QB for the Cleveland Browns.  Derek Anderson may be the weakest QB in the NFL to have ever played in the Pro-Bowl.  He had about ten very good games in 2007, and has shown little since. 

After March 15 when the Browns must pay Derek Anderson a contractually agreed $5M roster bonus and shortly before the draft, as teams realize they will not be able to get their dream QB in the draft, Anderson's value will be at its highest.  Derek should be traded for a first round pick or its equivalent in many lower round picks.

The Browns need a lot of help in many areas:  DL, LB, secondary, RB, WR, and some say the right side of their OL.  Derek's value is worth more as trade bait than as a back-up QB.  The Browns will have to pick up a backup, but there will be decent QB's released in the coming months looking for a job.  There always are.

Look to the NY Jets with Farve's retirement, Chicago may be looking for someone to compete with Kyle Orton.  Not sure what Tampa was thinking when they picked up Luke McCown for $7.5M.   After the Browns pay Derek's bonus, he will only cost Tampa $1.5M, and has more playing experience than Luke.  Don't give away Derek, but there will be teams interested and willing to give up something decent for him.  The time to commit to Brady Quinn has finally arrived.



Posted on: December 27, 2008 10:52 pm
Edited on: December 28, 2008 10:40 am

7 reasons to fire Romeo Crennel - soon to be 8

In the 10 years since the Browns returned to the NFL after their three year departure, here is their record against the Pittsburgh Steelers:

The Chris Palmer years '99 - '00:   2-2

The Butch Davis years  '01 - '04     1-8 inclluding playoff loss

The Romeo Crennel years  '05 - '08   0-7

The overall record versus the Pittsburgh since 1999 is a putrid 3-17.

It's hard to believe only in their first two years as an expansion franchise did the Browns play 500 ball against the Steelers. 

So, the seven losses to Pittsburgh are seven good reasons to fire Romeo, but here are a few more I can think of, realizing that Romeo is not entirely to blame in any of them:

1) The mishandling of the Kellen Winslow staph infection in 2008.  Romeo was actually publically quoted as saying Kellen was utilizing his confidentiality rights to not disclose the nature of his medical problem.  This was a bIatant lie.  In truth, Kellen had a staph infection the team had told him to not talk about.

2) The mishandling of the Charley Frye versus Derek Anderson QB situation in the 2007 season.  Charley was named starter after a competitive pre-season, only to be released after 1/2 of the first football game of the year.  Let me repeat.  1/2 of one football game is all the chance Charley got.

3)  13 of the Browns 25 draft picks in the Romeo Crennel years are no longer in the NFL.

4)  Romeo Crennel did not have the Browns ready to play the 2008 season.  The start of their schedule in 2008 with Dallas, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore was brutal, and the Browns were not ready to play.  The same cannot be said for their opponents.

5)  Romeo Crennel has been with the Browns 4 years, the same number Butch Davis who preceded him.  He has a losing record and his 2008 season was especially disappointing. 

Whoever Randy Lerner hires as his next head coach, in the end that decision will be judged on wins and losses, and the most important games to win will be against the Steelers. 




Category: NFL
Posted on: December 14, 2008 12:03 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2008 5:18 pm

Ravens replace Browns as top Steeler rival

This Sunday isn't the first time this NFL season the game I want to see the most does not involve my beloved Browns. The Browns are floundering with nothing to play for but pride, and to be honest aren't that entertaining right now.

This morning I was thinking about the great NFL rivalries. Of course Chicago / Green Bay came to mind and Dallas / Washington. Then I thought of Cleveland / Pittsburgh before it hit me. Cleveland / Pittsburgh isn't a rivalry right now. Cleveland hasn't beaten Pittsburgh since 2003, and maybe three times since 1999. It's a slaughter. Even though Baltimore lost the Browns colors and history in the one-of-a-kind team relocation in 1996, in a way Baltimore is the continuation of Cleveland. The real Cleveland / Pittsburgh rivalry will return some day, but for now Baltimore / Pittsburgh is much more entertaining and is one of the top rivalries in the NFL.

The Baltimore / Pittsburgh rivalry has taken the place of Cleveland / Pittsburgh in the AFC North. I researched the Pittsburgh / Baltimore match-ups since 1999. Except for one Baltimore and one Pittsburgh sweep, they have split every year since 1999.... of course with this season's series being decided today. Pittsburgh has the only playoff victory over that time after the 2001 season. 10 of the 20 games were decided by a touchdown or less. I didn't need to look up the Cleveland / Pittsburgh games over that period. It's enough to know that they have lost the last 9, and didn't do well before that either. Simply awful, and not the stuff from which rivalries are made.

Since 2003, the home team has won all the games in the series, except for 2006 when Baltimore swept the series. So recent history suggests a Baltimore close win at home today for the season split. I predicted that about five weeks ago, and will stick with it today. It will be low scoring, something like 17 -13.

There are some very exciting players to watch in this afternoon's game that could fuel victory for one side or the other. I plan to look for Free Safety Ed Reed (29 tackes, 5 ints, 3 TD's, 1 FF) of Baltimore and Strong Safety Troy Polamalu (63 tackles, 7 ints, 0 TD's, 0 FF's) of Pittsburgh. Safeties are the most athletic studs on any team. They have to have great closing speed, be big and strong, agile, and have good hands. If LeBron James played football, he would be a safety. A big day by either of these two could be the difference.

I will also keep a close eye on Kent State graduate James Harrison (89 tackles, 15 sacks, 1 int, 7 FF) of Pittsburgh and Baltimore's Ray Lewis (97 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 ints, 1 FF). These two are also game breakers. WIth that said, Pittsburgh and Baltimore play terrific team defense, and it could easily be anyone that steps up and makes the big play.

Joe Flacco is having a tremendous year (2,410 yds, 60.2%, 13 TD's 10 Int, 81.3 rating), and Ben Roethlisberber his usual nice year (2,616 yards, 59.8%, 14 TD's, 12 Int, 80.1 rating). As is always the case, the ability of each offensive line to give his QB time to throw as well as the TE's and running backs ability to pick up the blitz will be key.

So, as I said before, I'm going with Baltimore. They are hot, at home, lost to Pittsburgh in week 4, and typically gain a split in the series. This could be a coming out game for Flacco. If Baltimore gets it done, it doesn't get any easier for Pittsburgh and will set up another huge game next week against Tennessee.

It wasn't suppose to be like this. It was Cleveland and Pittsburgh that were suppose to be vying for the title. One of these years one of the Browns rebuilding programs will work and Cleveland & Pittsburgh will return to being the prominent rivalry in the AFC North and one of the top rivalries in the entire NFL. For now, take off your shoes, pop open a beer, and enjoy the Pittsurgh / Baltimore game this afternoon. That's what I plan to do.

Category: NFL
Posted on: November 28, 2008 11:59 am
Edited on: November 28, 2008 4:07 pm

Romeo Crennel's Opinion Matters No More

      One might think Brady Quinn was failing the test when he got pulled well into the second half of last weeks game against the Houston Texans.  He had just thrown his 2nd interception of the game, and in the Browns next offensive series Romeo sat Brady Quinn and sent Derek Anderson in to play.  Those of you that follow the Browns know Derek faired no better and the Browns lost a game neither team played well enough to deserve to win.       

      If you thought Brady Quinn was failing the test based on Romeo's actions, think again. 

      On Wednesday (11/26) Romeo was talking to reporters about the QB situation in Cleveland.  In stark contrast to his decision to sit him for DA during the Houston game, Romeo Crennel said he had seen all of Brady Quinn he needs to name him the starting QB for the Browns in 2009.  As far as play on the field during regular season NFL games, Romeo and the rest of the world had seen Brady for only 11 quarters of football. 
      Last Wednesday (11/26) Romeo said:  "I'm impressed with what the kid has done on the field, off the field, the way he handles himself in situations, the way he's run the team, not getting rattled, keeping his composure, being able to manage the game". 
      Asked if there would be open competition for the starting job Crennel said:  "I would say no because I had planned to go with Brady to be the quarterback.  When he comes back he is going to be healthy and he is going to be the quarterback.  Quinn is the starter at (next year's) training camp."
      When asked what would happen if Anderson lit it up over the remaining five games Romeo became irritated and said:  "you guys are really something.  You really are.  DA was the starter.  You guys hated him.  All right?  Quinn goes in and plays.  And now you're saying if DA lights it up, you want him to be the starter.  I've decided Quinn is going to be the starter, and I'm sorry if you don't like that.

      Brady Quinn must feel good about all the nice things Romeo said about him, but be careful Brady to take much comfort.  Romeo is becomming irrelevant.  He is showing a testiness his calm demeanor has been able to cover up until now.  He is an embattled coach that may be looking for a job this Winter.  

      I doubt it matters much what Romeo wants or thinks right now.  When the season is over Randy Lerner has said the team, its coaches, and management will be evaluated.  I don't think that evaluation will go very well, and Romeo will be gone.  There is even a good chance GM Phil Savage will be gone, and it will be a new coach and management making the decisions.  Bill Cowher has been mentioned as a possible candidate.  He would be a good choice.  The Browns haven't hired an experienced head coach since Nick Skorich in 1971 - 1974.  Pittsburgh has been the model of success.  I hope the Browns are able to hire Bill Cowher, but someone with head coaching experience this time Randy, please...... The actuaries tell me I only have thirty more years to live.

Category: NFL
Posted on: November 10, 2008 12:19 pm

So, Who wins the AFC North Now?

Well, not Cleveland or Cincinnati.  That is the easy part.  But Baltimore and Pittsburgh are knotted up at 6-3 and are in a dog fight with each other with only seven games remaining.  To help me pick a winner, I took a look at the history of the AFC North and playoff accomplishments since it was born in 2002:

                            2002           2003          2004           2005      2006      2007      2008    Total  Percentage

Pittsburgh         10-5-1*      6-10            15-1*           11-5*      8-8         10-6*      6-3      66-38-1   .633

Baltimore           7-9            10-6**           9-7              6-10       13-3**     5-11     6-3      56-49       .533

Cincinnati         2-14           8-8               8-8              11-5***    8-8           7-9       1-8      45-60      .429 .

Cleveland         9-7****     5-11            4-12             6-10       4-12          10-6      3-6       41-64     .390

*     '02 lost in divisional round, '04 lost in AFC championship, '05 won superbowl, '07 lost in divisional round

**   '03 lost in wild card round, '06 lost in divisional round

***  '05 lost in wild card round

**** '02 lost in wild card round

I added Cleveland and Cincinnati to my table because I wanted to see how bad it really was for them as a curiosity.  Pretty sad, isn't it?  They are not a factor obviously in 2008's division race.  Then I looked at the schedules of Baltimore and Pittsburgh.  Surprisingly of the seven remaining games, Cincinnati is the only common opponent.  They also play each other on December 14.

                     Pittsburgh                     Baltimore

week 11    San Diego H 4-5          NYG A 8-1

week 12   Cincyi H 1-8                  Phily H 5-4

week 13  NE  A  6-3                      Cincy  A 1-8

week 14 Dallas H 5-4                 Wash H  6-3

week 15 Balt   A  6-3                   Pitts H 6-3

week 16 Tenn A 9-0                   Dal  A  5-4

week 17  Clv H  3-6                   Jax  H  4-5

 Total 4H, 3A  34-29                   4H, 3A  35-28

The schedules look very even with both teams playing four home games and nearly identical win/loss percentages for the two teams.  Excluding the head to head match up in week 15, I figure Pittsburgh will lose to NE and Tennessee on the road and blow one of it's home games.  Baltimore will lose to Dallas and the NYG's on the road and also blow one of its home games.  So I see it coming down to the head to head match-up in Baltimore for the division title.  Pittsburgh won the first meeting in a nail biter 23-20.  Typically two good teams split the season series and win at home.  For that reason I go with Baltimore winning another nail biter at home and taking the division with a 10-6 record to Pittsburgh's 9-7, not quite good enough for a wild card. 

To Pittsburgh fans, it's true you have the better record by far since 2002 and have been to the playoffs more times including a superbowl victory.  Baltimore has not seen an AFC Championship game over that span.  But I am discounting the history.  What I see is Flacco looking very good as a starting QB.  I see a superior Baltimore offensive line to Pittsburgh's and a defense that is nearly as stiffling.  Flacco was very poised in coming back from a 14 point 2nd half deficit in Cleveland that I had the displeasure to personally witness.  More than anything, I am going on gut feel.  But don't fear Pittsburgh fans.  You should know I picked the Browns winning the divsion at the start of the season.  If anyone has reason for concern at my prediction, it is the Baltimore Ravens


Category: NFL
Posted on: October 26, 2008 9:58 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2008 10:01 pm

Kellen Who? (or Steve Heiden's coming out)

It would be a stretch to say the Browns had an awesome game today in their 23 -17 win at Jacksonville, but a win is a win.  They actually had a nice 1st half offensively with two touchdowns, but only managed two field goals in the second half and the game wasn't over until Garrard's pass flew out of the back of the end zone as the game clock expired.  A nail biter to say the least. 

I have three observations about today's game before I discuss Steve Heiden / Kellen Winslow and the tight end position.

  • Today, their difficulty punching the ball in from the one yard line continued.  When Syndric Steptoe was run out of bounds at the one yard line after a 53 yard completion with the game tied well into the 4th quarter, I could hear the collective grown throughout the community.  Last week against Washington, the Browns had seven attempts to score from the one yard line, and managed one touchdown on the eighth attempt on a nail biting 4th down gamble.  Today, it was more of the same.  The Browns need to do something about it.  How about this for a wild idea?  A pocket quarterback like Derek Anderson isn't ideal from so close.  How about using Joshua Cribbs, their emergency QB in these situations?  Or maybe they just need a better full back to either block or run if Lawrence Vickers or Jason Wright aren't getting it done.  I'll be watching closly 3rd / 4th and short situations the rest of the year to see how the Browns adjust.
  • Shawn Rogers (NT) who came to the Browns from Detroit for a high draft pick in the off season had an awesome game.  In one critical sequence early in the 4th quarter he stuffed the run on a 3rd and 3 and then blocked the field goal on a 4th and 3 allowing the Browns to retain their slim 17-14 lead.  Shaun Rogers dominated all over the field today, and I'm not sure the Browns win without his efforts.
  • Derek Anderson continued to play Houdini and survive to start at least one more game.  His overall stats were an average 14 of 27 for 246 yards and he missed targets plenty.  However, he had three brilliant passes over 40 yards to Steve Heiden, Syndric Steptoe, and Braylon Edwards all setting up scores and all in critical situations.  The pass to Heiden caught the Jaguars by surprise on a 4th and 1!  

Now, on to Steve Heiden.  Steve Heiden only had three catches, but for a healthy 73 yards and with a huge 51 yard play on a 4th and one included.  Romeo Crennel, Chudzinski, and Derek Anderson showed tremendous confidence in him when they threw him the ball on 4th and 1.  He has soft hands as he catches everything thrown in his direction.  He also does the dirty work, by picking up the blitz or blocking for Lewis or whoever is coming out of the backfield.  Darnell Dinkins, back-up TE to Steve Heiden, also had a catch and blocked effectively today.  Rookie TE Mark Rucker drafted as the Browns first pick in the 2008 draft (4th pick) is learning on the side-line. 

Heiden's emergence with quality back-up in Dinkins is why the Browns organization was comfortable sitting Kellen Winslow for disciplinary reasons.  In the last three games the Browns are 2-0 with Heiden starting and 0-1 with Winslow starting.

Rumors were flying that the Browns tried to trade Winslow before the deadline last week, but offers were for less than the first round pick they desired.  Justified or not, it seems likely his motorcycle accident, complaining about his contract, and revealing against the team's wishes he was hospitalized for a staph infection will result in the Browns trading him at some point.  At least with Heiden, Dinkins, and hopefully Rucker in the wings, his absense won't be missed.

With four of the Browns next five games at home there is some reason for hope that the playoff dream is still alive.  If the Browns take it one game at a time and keep getting performances like they did today from Heiden, Rogers, and DA NFL football in Cleveland may still be interesting in December. 


Posted on: October 19, 2008 9:24 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2008 9:09 pm

Time to Give Brady Quinn His Chance

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. 




The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or