Eric Mangini doesn’t quite get in when it comes to the 2009 season if reports hold up that Brady Quinn is going to be back under center on Monday night when the Cleveland Browns take on the Ravens.
Yes, the same Brady Quinn that was benched for not being able to produce points is going to start again. Is there something we are missing here?
Playing musical chairs with the quarterback position at this level is a surefire way to get beat and a surefire way to lose control of your team as a head coach, unless that has already happened in Cleveland under Mangini—which I am leaning towards today.
I think we could all agree that Quinn wasn’t the answer at the start of the season. He didn’t take chances down the field, and he didn’t get the ball into the end zone. The check down became his game, and the Browns realized that they wouldn’t be able to compete without a quarterback who gave them the opportunity for the big play.
And the switch was made to Derek Anderson, who was supposed to have those exact capabilities that Quinn didn’t. He had the big arm, the moxy to toss it down the field and the ability to keep Cleveland in games because he could pick up yardage in chunks.
But, let’s be honest. Anderson was anything but the right answer, throwing nine picks and sitting today at a QB rating of 36.2. Bad numbers folks.
And the offense hasn’t looked worse. The Browns are 31st in the NFL in total yards per game on offense, averaging just over 221 yards each week, and they’re dead last when it comes to the passing game at 121.5 yards per game.
To put it in a better perspective, the Saints’ defense has scored seven TDs this season, while the Cleveland offense—with the combination of Quinn and Anderson—has scored five TDs on the season. That’s less than a TD a game, and a clear example of why this team is as uncompetitive as they are on Sundays.
But, my question still remains: why go back to Quinn? If you are Mangini, you have already told your team that Quinn isn’t your leader, he isn’t the right choice and he doesn’t give you the best chance to win. So, what does Mangini say now in front of the team, and how does the locker room respond knowing that the first guy to lose his job is now back running the offense?
If I am in that locker room, I know that Anderson has been brutal on the field, but I also know that going back to Quinn is as good as taking a step back as a team—and starting over. I find a way to ride out the rest of the eight games and am thankful when the clock strikes zero during Week 17 so I can go home for the offseason.
And that is just the problem—Quinn doesn’t provide hope. Sure, he might be the best option at this moment of the season in terms of minimal production and protecting the football, but I would want to see Mangini either stick with Anderson or give the ball to Brett Ratliff, who could provide some excitement as a new face if Anderson is indeed being benched rather than going back with an old face that didn’t win a game for the team.
As our own Mike Lombardi will tell you, having two quarterbacks is as good as having none.
NFL teams need quarterbacks to be leaders, and Cleveland doesn’t have one right now—nor will they for the remainder of the season.
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