Thursday, January 10, 2008

Berea: The Plan Going Forward

Looks like GM Phil Savage has a plan for the future. What is that plan exactly? I don't even think he knows. He held a "State of the Union" address yesterday with the press and promptly told the media that Derek Anderson is the starter for 2008 and he is going to try to sign him long term. Is that a good idea?

Here's my take. There are so many teams who need a starting QB in this league that the chance to get a guy like DA who essentially had an All-Pro first half and an average second half is something GM's would jump at. Look at Houston with Matt Schaub. He had three career starts and was handed a six year, $48 million deal. Teams like Chicago, Miami, Minnesota, and Atlanta are train-wrecks at the position and would probably give DA that kind of jack if given the opportunity. But in a league that is so QB driven and where QB's are so easily injured, you must have two guys who can get the job done. So giving DA, say a two year extension, Savage would put the Browns in great shape. Whether DA's agents would agree to something like that is also debatable.

But what has he really proven? He showed a cannon for an arm and if given time, he can spray the ball over over the field. He went 10-5 as a starter and showed great chemistry with All Pro WR Braylon Edwards, TE Kellen Winslow, and WR Joe Jurevicius. "He’s got a pretty good offensive line, good skill guys around him, a good coordinator and a head coach that he likes,” said Savage. “It’s a nice cockpit to be in as a quarterback. I think Derek recognizes that and feels he’s the guy that can pilot it right now.”

But the Browns missed the playoffs and DA has to be held partially to blame. His decision making in Arizona and in Cincinnati with a chance to clinch a playoff spot was borderline abominable. His second half in Pittsburgh was almost as bad with a 21-6 lead. But he was the Pro Bowl alternate at QB and threw more TD's than any QB in recent Browns memory. He was a big reason the Browns became relevant again.

That said, does anyone think that with the weapons and the offensive line currently in place, Brady Quinn couldn't do the same thing? The best thing to do is to ride it out another year with DA and then make your decision. So many good QB's sat for a while before getting their shot and it only helped them. Carson Palmer didn't take one single snap as a rookie. Not one. Steve McNair didn't play for two years when he first started in Houston/Tennessee. Tony Romo is now considered a top tier QB, he didn't play for three years. Quinn is a smart kid. He knows he will be a starting QB one way or another soon. The more he studies and readies himself, the better QB he will be in the long run.

Said Savage about his QB situation: "Based off what Derek did this year, everyone affiliated with the Browns feels that he deserves a chance to go into the batter’s box and swing for the fences next year. That’s what our expectation is going to be — that he’ll hit some home runs for us.”

"Brady is a good team player. He wants to play as well. But I think we’d have to play out next season and see which direction it goes. But I think Derek gets the first bite at the apple to show what he can do and see if he can build off this year.”

Up next for Savage: extending the contract of coach Romeo Crennel (mistake) and trying to give Jamal Lewis a new deal (great move).

Browns Aim to Sign, Start, DA - Tony Grossi, Cleveland Plain Dealer

QB Stability, too, Shall Pass - Bud Shaw, Cleveland Plain Dealer

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