Anderson Playing Like a Starter

Cleveland Browns starting quarterback Derek Anderson has benefited from terrific pass protection through the early parts of the season. Some thoughts on DA's progress, and player notes as the Browns prepare for Bill Belichick and the Patriots...

Derek Anderson has nine touchdown passes and a rating of 88.4. He has thrown only five interceptions.

There's not much more the Browns could ask of their quarterback, who would be the toast of the town had a field goal not been blocked on the game's final play in Oakland.

Anderson was supposed to keep the quarterback spot warm for Brady Quinn, the team's first-round draft pick. He has done more than that.

"He's got a big arm and he can make some plays," coach Romeo Crennel said. "Our offensive line, they are still growing together, but they have been able to give him some time. Now there's a comfort level that he's able to feel because those guys are going to protect him.

"Now he can use his arm and go through his progressions, go through his reads."

Anderson has had one or two really poor throws every game, something that remains a big concern.

"We have to get him better at that and not making those kinds of decisions," Crennel said "But he's shown that he's capable when he plays within himself and within the scheme."

But his strength has been getting rid of the ball. He has been sacked once the last three games -- and that happened when he had the ball knocked out of his hand.

Will Anderson keep the job forever?

Probably not, but if he keeps playing like he has he may earn himself a job with another team.

PLAYER NOTES

--QB Derek Anderson has led the Browns' offense to at least 24 points in each of the team's last three games. The Browns scored 24 points in three games last season total. This week's challenge in New England will be formidable, though.

--RB Jamal Lewis had just 64 yards rushing against Baltimore. It's apparent that Lewis will get the bulk of his yards against the weaker defenses, like Cincinnati. The Patriots figure to keep Lewis in check.

--TE Kellen Winslow fought through a lot of pain in his shoulder to have a huge game against the Ravens. Winslow is fast becoming one of the league's better tight ends.

--WR Braylon Edwards has lived up to his promises this season. In the offseason, Edwards said he would be a different player and teammate this year, and he has been. Edwards has played well, worked hard and kept his mouth shut. If he stays healthy, he should finish with some impressive numbers.

--WR Joe Jurevicius continues to be Mr. Reliable in key situations for the Browns. Jurevicius was on the receiving end of the Browns first touchdown against Baltimore, a catch he made in a crowd just before he was hit.

--LB Willie McGinest gave the defense, and the team, a huge lift when he returned from preseason back surgery. McGinest's presence seemed to have a calming effect on the defense, which played its best game of the season.

--CB Leigh Bodden got his second interception of the season against Baltimore. The Browns need Bodden to play well. He is the team's best corner.

--NT Ted Washington could be on borrowed time. The Browns had discussed releasing the behemoth nose tackle, but Romeo Crennel spoke up to keep him. How long Washington lasts will be intriguing.

--LB Kamerion Wimbley is seeing consistent double-teams in the pass rush. Until the Browns find another legitimate pass-rush threat, Wimbley will have to fight through double-teams.

--KR Joshua Cribbs is averaging 34.3 yards on his kickoff returns, which ranks him third in the league. The two players ahead of him, though, have one and two returns. Cribbs has 16. Right now he is the best in the league.


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