...everyone seems to be having problems grasping the new offensive system - and, it's looking more and more that Quinn will hold out.
Posted on Sun, Jun. 17, 2007
ANDERSON ON TOP
Judging by drills, quarterback has legitimate chance to become starter
By Terry Pluto
If the Browns had to open the season today, the quarterback probably would be Derek Anderson. That's the word from some with the Browns, but it's written in pencil, and keep in mind that Anderson is being judged on drills where they wear shorts and helmets and the quarterback is not being sacked. He has the strongest arm of the three candidates, and it will look the best in this type of minicamp setting.
That said, the Browns also believe Anderson showed some promise in the four games he played last season. He completed 63 percent of his passes, five for touchdowns, with eight interceptions. His stats were skewed a bit because he was terrible in his final start, completing 10-of-27 with four interceptions and a QB rating of 12.1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He also suffered a separated shoulder in that game.
New offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski has a new offense, and all three quarterbacks have been struggling to grasp the different motions and formations. This takes away some of the advantage that incumbent Charlie Frye would have. Brady Quinn is a rookie, so it's no surprise he has been overwhelmed. All three have been at some point.
Frye's best moments have been in the two-minute drills when he has been on the move around the pocket. His advantage is having played against the Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders, the first four opponents on this year's schedule. He knows their defenses, and with 18 pro starts, he has more experience than anyone else.
Listening to General Manager Phil Savage, it's obvious the quarterback spot is wide open, and Anderson definitely has a legitimate chance to become the starter. It's between Frye and Anderson, and it might not be decided until the middle of the exhibition season.
Fearing a holdout
As for Quinn, here's what the Browns aren't saying: They fear a holdout. The Notre Dame star was the 22nd pick. Savage and the Browns said several times that they ranked him among the top five players in the draft. No doubt, agent Tom Condon will mention that to the Browns in contract talks. The Browns will say, ``Look, we had him ranked high, but he was drafted 22. That's not our fault.''
In terms of wanting to get on the field this season, the last thing Quinn needs is a holdout. Adjusting to the pros is hard enough. Chudzinski's system is more complicated than some other pro sets. Not having been in the NFL has Quinn already behind Anderson and Frye, and missing practices certainly wouldn't help him close the gap.
Maybe there will be no holdout, but that will be only if the Browns decide to immediately pay Quinn far more than the projected pay for a 22nd pick. There is pressure on all NFL teams not to do that because it escalates rookie salaries for many other picks in the same area of the draft.
All this is why the NFL needs a rookie salary cap much like the one in the NBA, where players are slotted based on where they are picked. That leaves more money for veterans rather than kids who have never played a pro game. It also eliminates rookie holdouts.
Somehow, the Browns have to find someone who can put a motor on the offense. In the past four years, they've barely averaged 17 points per game. In 2005-06, it was fewer than 15 points.