Cursed by a talent-thin roster with which the reincarnation of Otto Graham might struggle to succeed, Cleveland Browns coach Eric Mangini made the predictable quarterback switch from Brady Quinn to Derek Anderson this week.
After a 0-3 start, the switch was necessary given Quinn's struggles with the offense and his maddening reluctance to challenge opposing secondaries. The offense designed by coordinator Brian Daboll emphasizes the short- and medium-range passing game and places a premium on accuracy, but warrants that quarterbacks pick their spots to take some deep shots.
Despite a good-enough (but not great) arm, Quinn mostly eschewed the deep ball. Anderson isn't nearly as accurate as Quinn, as evidenced by a career completion mark of just 54.7 percent (compared to 60.8 percent for Quinn), but has the ability to throw deep.
In his three starts, Quinn averaged a microscopic 5.40 yards per attempt and a paltry 8.89 yards per completion. The former Notre Dame star had only three completions of 20 yards or more. But more than half of his completions (23 of 45) were for 8 yards or less. Quinn also suffered 10 sacks, including nine in the past two games, and probably held the ball too long behind a very average offensive line.
One teammate on offense privately described Quinn as being "probably too careful and definitely too mechanical."
Anderson, who owns 27 regular-season starts, is neither of those things. The fifth-year veteran has averaged 6.64 yards per attempt and 12.16 yards per completion. Anderson has a touchdown pass-to-interception ratio of 43-38, and has never taken more than seven sacks in any three-game stretch. As a starter, Anderson has averaged 17½ yards per touchdown pass. He has 12 scoring passes of 20 yards or more.
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