Jul 21, 2008
I’ve been meaning to check in on a recent site poll subject, Brown QB Derek Anderson, and the results of that poll. The question was: will Anderson deliver the goods in 2008? And by “the goods” I mean basically something close to what he gave us last year, and close to expectations in 2008.
The results were positive for Anderson’s chances – but not overwhelmingly positive. Of almost 550 voters, 65% said yes, with 35% voting no.
I do have a problem with people who just assume Brady Quinn is the “future” and will get his chance because of that. It’s all about winning games in the NFL, and there’s no way the Browns would have been 10-6 last year with Quinn running the show. Quinn would not have put up the big numbers Anderson put up, either. On the other hand, if Anderson does regress, and if the team is losing, then there will be a lot of pressure to make a switch. Anderson’s new contract is basically set up so he has to show them he’s the real deal again in 2008, or else they can cut ties with him relatively easily.
I’m so enamored – or obsessed – with Anderson because he’s such a huge key to fantasy drafts this year. People are a little worried about him, so he’s not going that high. I mean, in the past, if a young QB accounted for 32 TDs in a season, he’d be a high pick the following year, but that’s not really the case with Anderson, who you can get in the 7th round most times in a 10 or 12-team league.
The recent injury situation with Joe Jurevicius is not good, and I must say the vibes right now are on the negative side because of it. Hopefully, he’ll be able to play and help the team this year. You can’t expect much, but if he can help them from the #3 spot, that would be a big bonus. If not, then there’s one more reason to be concerned with Anderson.
But while I can certainly see the downside with DA, I still have to lean toward the favorable side.
For one, he has had a full off-season as the main guy to work on his flaws. I guess we can’t assume he’s developed better touch on his passes and that he’s going to improve his decision-making, but he’s certainly focused on those two areas, his biggest downfalls. At the very least, he’s definitely more comfortable in the system and with the personnel with a full year in as the starter. Keep in mind, not only was he just a guy fighting for the job this time last year, he wasn’t even guaranteed a roster spot. I’ve learned that it’s dangerous to just assume a young player will improve with time, since it makes sense he will, but it’s entirely possible that will be the case with Anderson.
I still always go back to the O-Line. People who are down on Anderson can’t have it both ways with the OLs. They can’t focus on a bad line with one player and ignore a great one with another, and Anderson’s line is terrific. When he was lighting it up, he was standing untouched like a statue and making some big-time throws. He has all the physical tools to take advantage of an eternity to throw the ball.
I also always go back to the elite receivers, Edwards and Winslow. These are two high-end players, and a QBs’ best friend.
And while I’m not counting on him for much, the fact remains Donte Stallworth is a perfect fit for their offense as his game relates to Anderson’s skills and those of Edwards and Winslow.
I’m worried about Anderson having to throw it too much, but their secondary should be horrible, so that will be the case. I have confidence in OC Rob Chudzinski, though, so right now I’d proclaim the fact that Anderson’s Browns will be in a lot of shootouts as a positive for fantasy.
Which brings me to a final point on Anderson: his running game. I’m sure many readers remember my affinity for Bear QB Rex Grossman last year. The guy had sexy upside, no doubt, and he was being drafted in the 14th round, which was an appeal, to say the least. But if you remember, I always added one caveat: All bets are off if his running game fails him.
Not only did Grossman’s running game fail him miserably, his offensive line went from being one of the stronger units in the entire NFL to literally one of the worst. Grossman’s good enough to toss 30 TD passes in a season when everything is going right, but he’s bad enough to look helpless when everything is going badly.
Anderson’s better, but the same principle applies: his key this year is Jamal Lewis, and we’ve said this before. Lewis is the key to the entire Brown offense because it’s a power running scheme and everything works off of that. It’s almost not important if he’s running it wildly effective; he just has to be running it because there will be a commitment to the run no matter what.
So here is the prediction: If Jamal Lewis is healthy most of the season, Anderson will be more than fine and will, in fact, go down as a strong value in 2008.