(Update: This post was originally written before the Browns lost to the Colts 10-6. During that game, Derek Anderson went out with what looks a pretty serious knee injury. Unfortunately, the rest of Derek Anderson’s 2008 season appears to be in jeopardy, meaning that Ken Dorsey will likely be playing QB for the Browns for the rest of the season. Unless, of course, they choose one of the other candidates below…)
Word broke last night that Browns QB and Golden Boy Quarterback of the Future Brady Quinn will miss the rest of the 2008 season.
Quinn visited the Fantasy Football Grim Reaper, Dr. James Andrews, only a few days after saying that his injured finger did not affect his performance on Sunday against the Texans. During the visit, further damage was discovered to the finger; and thus, Brady Quinn will sit out the rest of 2008.
Most people assume that Derek Anderson will be taking over on Sunday when the Browns play the Colts in Cleveland. And that is probably correct. But between the Brownsâ€™ 4-7 record, the utter incompetence of Braylon Edwards, the overall ineptitude of our offense, the up and down defense, and questionable job status of Romeo Crennel, Rob Chudzinski, and Phil Savage less than a year after contract extensionsâ€¦well, letâ€™s just say that this year has not exactly gone according to plan.
So, I am going to run down the Top 10 Candidates to Replace Brady Quinn. Weâ€™ll be begin with the assumption that Derek Anderson will immediately step into the role of starter, and then this post will probably start unraveling right before your eyes.
Top 10 Candidates to Replace Brady Quinn at QB
1 â€“ Derek Anderson
Positives: He has starting experience, and was a Pro Bowler in 2007. I wonder if he threw any 300s on the circuit last year. Wait â€“ what? Oh. He played in the Pro Bowl. The one with the best players in the NFL. Wow. It seems like so long ago I barely remember. After watching him this season, it was pretty hard to fathom that Derek Anderson went to the Pro Bowl last year.
Negatives: Well, in the section of positives above, I could not contain my frustration and keep it all positive. Not good when weâ€™re talking about the guy that got a 3-year extension in the offseason. (Update: And now, of course, he’s hurt. So Anderson’s out of the mix.)
2 â€“ Ken Dorsey
Positives: He has been in the Cleveland system forever and knows the offense. (Considering how poorly the offense has played this year, Iâ€™m not sure if knowing the offense is actually a positive.) He played at the U with Kellen Winslow.
Negatives: I watched him warming up once and was certain that he had a sprained or separated shoulder. No, I was told â€“ he was actually throwing it as hard as he could. (This story is not true, but it could be.) KVB throws like a ten-year old girl, and he just might be able to get it down the field better than Ken Dorsey.
3 â€“ Joshua Cribbs
Positives: Are you kidding me? Because heâ€™s Joshua Frieking Cribbs. There arenâ€™t many players that I will completely absolve from blame for this seasonâ€™s woes, but Joshua Cribbs is one of them. He played quarterback at Kent State and would allow us to get the ball into the hands of one of our best play-makers each play. Sure, we might not be able to throw all that well, but are we really throwing it that well right now anyway? What do we have to lose?
Negatives: Joshua Cribbs is one of the top special teams players in the NFL. We donâ€™t want him getting tired running for his life as the quarterback and then being unable to cover and return kicks with his usual pizzazz.
4 â€“ Jerome Harrison
Positives: He has been our most dynamic and consistent play-maker on offense this year, despite his limited role. Every time he touches the ball, something good seems to happen. It stands to reason that if you get the ball into the hands of your play-makers more, good things will happen for the offense.
Negatives: Well, he has never played QB before, so that hurts. Sure, Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn have looked like they hadnâ€™t played QB before â€“ but surprisingly they actually had, as recently as 2007! So Jeromeâ€™s lack of experience should not work against him.
What may work against him is a little known quirk in the fabric of the universe that only Rob Chudzinski knows about. The entire city of Cleveland is actually lined with dynamite. Every square inch of it. The evil doers who set this up dictated only two things that could trigger detonation, with the assumption being that they will never happen: Jerome Harrison receiving more than 10 touches in a game or the Cleveland Indians winning a World Series. Iâ€™m not sure if this is true, but itâ€™s about the only reasonable explanation I can make for the Brownsâ€™ aversion to giving the rock to Jerome Harrison more this season â€“ so Iâ€™m not ruling it out.
5 â€“ Bill Cowher
Positives: Can you imagine the roar from the Browns crowd? I realize this sounds ridiculous, but think about it: the Browns canâ€™t just install Cowher as their coach right now because they have to comply with the Rooney Rule. However, I canâ€™t think of any rules against signing Bill Cowher to play QB, thus allowing him into the meeting rooms to learn the current system, get to know the players, and begin to change the mentality of this team. You may think this one is ridiculous; I think it makes the most sense of all.
Negatives: Heâ€™s old, he has a mustache, and heâ€™s never played quarterback before. If we are going to try out this combination in hopes of actually winning a game, Iâ€™d rather go with Tom Selleck or Quint from Jaws. Cowher at QB would obviously be a move for the future and likely result in five straight losses to end the season. If we want to finish the season with dignity, Selleck or Quint could help us get there.
6 â€“ LeBron James
Positives: He is tall, heâ€™s mind-bogglingly athletic, and he played football in high school. Can you imagine a zone-read offense with LeBron James at QB and Jamal Lewis and Jerome Harrison flanking him, with the threat of a reverse to Joshua Cribbs. Seriously, tell me the Browns wouldnâ€™t score more points that way. Plus, as Cleveland comes to the realization that LeBron will not be around in two seasons, the city needs to get creative in coming up with ways to keep him. Sure, heâ€™d have the big market of New York City if he went to the Nets or Knicks â€“ but wouldnâ€™t he become a global icon faster if he was the NBA MVP and a starting NFL QB? Eat that Bo Jackson.
Negatives: He would be playing for the Browns, which would force him to live under the same dark cloud that everyone associated with the franchise has had to live under since 1999 â€“ and for long before that. How long would it be before LeBron got hurt? One of the greatest NBA careers ever could be derailed by the (un)luck of the Browns.
7 â€“ Tim Sofa
Positives: So I heard about this young kid from rural Kentucky who put up ridiculous numbers in HS playing against a bunch of small schools. Then he went to a big conference, played in a spread and threw the ball 70 times a game and continued to put up great numbers, fooling everyone in the process that he was actually a competent QB. Pick him #1!
Negatives: Unfortunately, this guy has zero leadership qualities, a rag arm, and is more fragile than cracked glass. Yeah, never mind about this one. Weâ€™ve been here before.
8 â€“ Zack Morris
Positives: The Browns have lost their pretty boy, eye candy for the ladies now that Brady Quinn is down. Derek Anderson just does not seem to have the same cache with the females. The other problem with DA is that he is not cool and calm under pressure. Brady Quinn needs some time to develop, but it appears as if he will be a cool customer with time. Zack Morris, however, is quite possibly the coolest guy ever. The ladies loved him, he was always finding a way out of difficult situations, and he thrived under less than optimal leadership (Mr. Belding). He could be the perfect choice to succeed in a struggling offense for a struggling coach. (Plus, look at that picture of Ken Dorsey above and tell me he wouldn’t be a worthy Screech Powers.)
Negatives: Well, heâ€™s a TV character and not a real person, so that could be a problem. Of course, many of us thought that Brady Quinn was just a commercial actor and ball boy until he actually played in a game this year. Also, Zack Morris is a California kid from Bayside High, so his toughness could be a question mark. But, what many people forget is that the early episodes of Saved by the Bell (with Miss Bliss) actually took place in Indiana. So Zack Morris has Midwestern roots and, ostensibly, toughness. And perhaps if Preppy plays QB for the Browns he could bring A.C. Slater with him. We could use a linebacker.
9 â€“ Sloth from Goonies
Positives: Look, letâ€™s be honest about something here. Browns fans, on the whole, are not the prettiest people in the world. They are hard-working, blue-collar people who are defined more by toughness, loyalty, and grit than razzle-dazzle, sparkle, and face moisturizers. Doesnâ€™t it seem a bit incongruous that Brady Quinn and his leading-man good looks are quarterbacking this franchise? He should be in Miami or Dallas or L.A. Sloth from Goonies, however, just looks like a Browns fan, doesnâ€™t he? And thatâ€™s not to say that most Browns fans are ugly. Really, itâ€™s more of a generalization about the majority of people in the Midwest. Hey, I love the Midwest. Itâ€™s where I grew up. But I see more â€œprettyâ€ people in Dallas every day than in a year of time back home. Doesnâ€™t mean I like the people down here any more (quite the contrary, actually) â€“ it just is what it is.
Negatives: First off, while Browns fans in general may not have much in common with Brady Quinn in terms of looks, Sloth would probably be much more comfortable at Heinz Field with the rest of the eye sores that root for the Steelers. Also, I have to question Slothâ€™s toughness. He was tough and scary at the beginning of the movie, but quickly turned into a softie. Iâ€™ll give him the benefit of the doubt though, because he helped out the kids and became a hero in the end. Also, he does not appear to be very mobile in the pocket. If he has a decent release, he could be a poor manâ€™s Bernie Kosar, but probably not much more.
10 â€“ Charlie Brown
Positives: First off, his last name. He was born to play football in Cleveland. Secondly, poetic justice. Charlie Brown consistently has the ball yanked out from under him when he runs forward to attempt to kick it, sending him flying up in the air to land on his back with a thud. Sadly, what better metaphor is there for Cleveland Browns football in 2008?
Negatives: I canâ€™t think of any. Letâ€™s add another eponymous superstar to the list of Cleveland greats that is highlighted by Paul and Jim. The legacy can continue with Charlie.
Seriously, at this point, what do we have to lose?