Monday, September 22, 2008
Crennel indicates Quinn will get 'a few more reps' in practice
ESPN.com news services
BEREA, Ohio -- Cleveland Browns coach Romeo Crennel is not ready to announce he's benching quarterback Derek Anderson just yet.
But Crennel and the Browns are at the point where they want to make sure highly touted backup Brady Quinn is prepared to play in Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Although Crennel didn't say Monday that he's handing the reins over to Quinn, the coaching staff plans to give Quinn more practice reps with the first team this week. It's the biggest indictment of Anderson to date following Sunday's 28-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in which Anderson had one of the worst performances of his career. He completed just 14 of 37 passes for 125 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.
"We will definitely try to get the other guy [Quinn] ready and ready to go," Crennel said. "We'll see how it progresses from there. [It means] probably a few more reps in practice right now."
The change in tone provides a window into the shortened leash with Anderson.
Coming into the season, Crennel, the rest of the Browns' coaching staff and general manager Phil Savage said they were behind Anderson as the starting quarterback. But after an 0-3 start and a horrendous 43.5 passer rating this year, the team is starting to waver from that claim, despite Quinn being an unproven commodity.
"If we decide to go with him, we just have to put it on the fact from what we've seen in practice and what we feel he's able to do," Crennel said of Quinn. "There's no hard evidence that he will have more success."
Tale of Two Seasons
The first three games of the last two seasons have gone very differently for Browns quarterback Derek Anderson.
The Browns also are looking at changes at other positions, but quarterback is the one position on everyone's mind. Cleveland is one of the NFL's biggest disappointments this season after going 10-6 in 2007.
"I think what we have to do is evaluate it and do what's best for this team to try and win a game," Crennel said. "If [a quarterback change] is what it is, then that's what it needs to be if we decide that."
Quinn, the former Notre Dame star, is a first-round draft pick and the perceived face of a franchise that until a few weeks ago seemed to have finally put more than a decade's worth of misery behind it.
Quinn spent 15 weeks of his rookie year as Anderson's backup and didn't make his NFL debut until last season's finale against San Francisco. He completed 3 of 8 passes for 45 yards but looked poised while running Cleveland's offense.
During the few minutes he was in the locker room Monday, Quinn was told Crennel is thinking about making a switch.
"Every week it's the backup's job to prepare to be the starter, so nothing's changed," Quinn said. "We've got a lot of things to work on. We have a lot of things to put together. Hopefully we can have another week of preparation and go into Cincinnati confident."
Crennel said he didn't consider bringing in Quinn against a Ravens defense that was "pinning back its ears" in the second half and going after Anderson, who was sacked five times.
Curiously, Crennel, who has come under fire from Browns fans because of poor clock management and his team's overall lack of discipline and consistency so far this season, began his news conference on Monday with a reminder that Cleveland's 10-win season in 2007 was ancient history.
"Everybody understands now that last year is officially over and where we are is where we are," he said. "We have to evaluate this year's team for who we are, how we're playing right now and what's happened this year and not look at what happened last year or anticipate that it's going to be OK because it's not OK."
Anderson's production has tailed off dramatically in his past eight starts. After taking over for Charlie Frye in Week 2, Anderson threw 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in his first 10 starts of 2008. However, over his past eight starts, Anderson, who missed three exhibition games this summer with a concussion, has nine TDs and 13 interceptions.
Anderson hasn't had his full complement of wide receivers, either.
Joe Jurevicius is sidelined with a knee injury and Donte' Stallworth, one of the team's big free-agent signings, hasn't played because of a leg injury suffered during warm-ups before the opener.
On top of that, Cleveland's offensive line was without left guard Eric Steinbach on Sunday and right tackle Ryan Tucker hasn't been active after undergoing surgery on his hip.
Information from ESPN.com's James Walker and The Associated Press was used in this report.