Had things gone differently after the 2007 draft, the game in Oakland Sunday
might be a duel between the first two quarterbacks taken - JaMarcus Russell by
the Raiders and Brady Quinn by the Browns.
As it is, the chances of that happening are very remote since Russell did not sign until the second week of the season. Plus, the Browns are bringing Quinn along slowly. When he plays depends on how well Derek Anderson continues to play. If Anderson continues to play as he did against the Bengals, it might be a long time before Quinn plays.
"One play away doesn't just imply an injury," coach Romeo Crennel said. "It could be an injury or a guy not performing. I don't know how it's going to occur or if it's going to occur. But he's really one play away."
Crennel and General Manager Phil Savage do not seem to be in harmony on this issue. Savage said the most important thing the Browns must do this season is develop Quinn in the right way. He said not playing Quinn before he is ready is part of the 'big picture,' meaning the next series, the next quarter or even the current game is not as important as preparing Quinn for the future; Savage says once the change is made, there is no going back to Anderson.
Anderson's problem is he is prone to turnovers. He threw 57 interceptions at Oregon State, which is the biggest reason the Ravens did not draft him until the sixth round in 2005. He was waived as a rookie and claimed by Savage, who liked Anderson for his strong arm.
Anderson threw eight picks with the Browns last year and one in the 34-7 loss to the Steelers in the opener. He threw one against the Bengals and it led to a Cincinnati field goal, but he did more than enough right to offset that mistake in a 51-45 Browns victory.
Anderson, who did not do enough to beat out Charlie Frye, became the starter Sept. 11 when Frye was traded to Seattle. He started slowly against the Bengals but finished with 20 completions in 33 attempts for 328 yards. He spread the wealth with two touchdown passes to Braylon Edwards, two to Joe Jurevicius and one to Kellen Winslow. He had six career touchdown passes before Sunday.
Anderson will need the kind of protection he got from his line against the Bengals when the Browns get to Oakland. He was sacked once and Frye five times by the Steelers. The Bengals did not touch him. Jamal Lewis benefited from holes blown by Eric Steinbach and Joe Thomas, among others, to rush for 216 yards.
Anderson is hoping the magic continues. The Browns won in Oakland in 2005 and 2006. Ironically, Frye was the quarterback for both those games. Frye won six games in his career and two of them were in Oakland.
Anderson said the key is staying patient and taking what the opponent gives him. He wants to continue spreading the ball around.
"When you get guys going, somebody is going to be one-on-one," Anderson said. "When Jamal's rolling like that, it opens up play-action downfield. Those linebackers get sucked up and our tight ends get down the field."
--P Dave Zastudil was back in the lineup after missing the opener because of an oblique muscle pull. He and Paul Ernster both punted in pregame warm-ups. The decision to go with Zastudil wasn't made until he said he made it through the session all right. Zastudil punted only twice.
--K Phil Dawson moved into fourth place on the Browns' all-time scoring list with three field goals and six PATs for 685 career points. He trails Lou Groza, Don Cockroft and Jim Brown.
--WR Joe Jurevicius caught two touchdown passes against the Bengals. It was the sixth time in his career Jurevicius caught two touchdown passes.
--S Brodney Pool suffered a mild concussion in a collision with Bengals wide receiver Glenn Holt and did not return.
--RB Jamal Lewis finished with 216 yards on 27 carries. It was his ninth 100-yard game against the Bengals and the 31st of his career.
Fred reports from the Browns training facility where the Browns have a Player of the Week, a new…