So the Cleveland Browns’ seemingly endless quarterback competition between Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn has finally come to an end. Both quarterbacks lost. Anderson was released by the Browns last week; Quinn has been dealt to the Denver Broncos. My guess is neither will be starters next season.
In 2007, Anderson was a Pro Bowl quarterback who threw 29 touchdowns and led the hapless Browns to a 10-6 record. That same year, Cleveland drafted Quinn in the first round. The ensuing quarterback controversy that saw both of them repeatedly yanked in and out of the starter role — a desperate attempt to breathe life into the Browns’ lackluster offense — helped make them both worse players. In seven starts last season, Anderson completed only 45 percent of his passes and threw for 888 yards, three touchdowns, and ten interceptions. His passer rating was a godawful 42.1.
Quinn wasn’t much better. He completed only 53 percent of his passes last season for 1,339 yards with eight touchdowns (four of which came against the Detroit Lions, who still ended up beating the Quinn-led Browns) and seven interceptions. He has gone 3-9 as a starter and last year his passer rating was a poor 67.3. Ultimately, the Browns decided to replace him with Jake Delhomme, whose downward spiral last year led him to throw 18 interception to just eight touchdowns in 11 games, ending up with a passer rating lower than Quinn’s.
Delhomme’s defenders argue that since his elbow surgery, he has had too much arm strength for his own good. If he could just fix his overthrowing problem, he could get back to playing at a high level. Delhomme is by all accounts a good guy, so I hope this is true. But I’m skeptical: why didn’t this problem affect him until that playoff game against Arizona during the 2008 season? He led the Carolina Panthers to a 12-4 record during that regular season. It seems to me that his problem is a loss of poise (which may be fixable) and being washed up at 35 (which is probably not). But we’ll see. This could be Seneca Wallace’s year.