LA: If the team is struggling and the head coach ultimately decides the QB is a fault, I could see Quinn getting an opportunity. The issue here is more than the changing of the QB. We are talking about a change in mindset not only at this position, but throughout the locker room and organization.
The reason Quinn is not playing is not due to any questioning of his ability, but rather the insistence of this organization to stay the course. Granted, the QB has not played well and the offense as a whole has struggled. Due to the current state of the AFC, I do not see the Browns as being a lost cause at this time. This Cleveland offense has the weaponry to be competitive -- as shown in the 2007 season -- but the inconsistency we are seeing this season is a carry-over from how this offense performed late in '07.
The three-game stretch starting with the New York Giants (followed by Washington, Jacksonville) will dictate whether this team is going to get back in the race or position itself for evaluation throughout the duration of the 2008 season.
For what it's worth, I see Brady Quinn getting on the playing field at some point in the 2008 season.
Q: When looking at the Cleveland offense and defense, what do you perceive as the weakness on each side of the ball?
LA: A lack of pass rush and inconsistent play from the DL and ILB's has been the issue on the defensive side of the ball. The defense has improved, but it has not been good enough to capitalize on opportunities and change the complexion of a game. The DL has been unable to keep the ILB's clean on a consistent basis and the ILB's have not flowed to the ball or gaps with regularity.
Offensively, the lack of execution has been alarming, along with the lack of speed, quickness and veteran presence in the receiving game. The QB has been wildly inconsistent and is not playing with confidence. The confidence factor is large for this team as when the Browns offense makes plays, one can see the demeanor of the players rise tremendously.
There would be nothing better for this team than to see the offense string together some long scoring drives, which would help regain the lost confidence as well as keep the defense off the field. That has been yet another issue for this 2008 team - time of possession.
Q: We have watched supposed good defenses such as Dallas, Baltimore and Pittsburgh give up big plays and a serious amount of points in recent outings. The excuse has been the Browns did not fare well due to playing these perceived 'good' defensive teams. What is the reality, as these teams do not appear as well-rounded as once thought?
LA: When I look back at each contest thus far, I don't see the Browns as being a bad football team. What I see is a team that is not executing for various reasons, whether it be injury-related, skill-related or schematically, this team is not that far off.
What has been lacking for the Browns offense is the confidence factor, which is related to the inability to make plays. The Cleveland offense is leaving plenty of opportunities on the field and is simply not firing on all cylinders. A return to health should help this team immensely, though I do not see this as being a savior to the season. Injuries and depth along the defensive line most likely will create further problems for the defense, while the offense should see some benefit with the return of offensive lineman Ryan Tucker and WR Donte Stallworth.
If this offense executes, the Browns are again a competitive team and one which can change its destiny. If the OL continues to struggle, the QB makes poor decisions, and the receivers run poor routes and drop passes, we will see much of the same.
Thus far in the 2008 season, the inconsistency and inaccuracy of the QB has been on display, even as the receivers have not been in position or have been unable to make the acrobatic-type plays which elevated the Cleveland offense a season ago. While the QB has been a focal point of issue, the entire offense has struggled.
The opposition has done a good job in pressuring the Browns offense, while showing no respect to the Browns' ability to beat them over the top. The opposing defenses are squeezing the Cleveland offense more in the 2008 season than ever before; the inability to execute and without a legitimate threat on the outside has made this Browns offense rather slow and lumbering.
Execution and health are keys, and the Browns have had neither.
Q: If the Browns lose to the Giants in a decisive manner, what do you see transpiring for this team and especially the QB position for the remainder of the season?
LA: If the Browns lose this game to the Giants and the offense continues to struggle -- especially at the QB position -- I would make a change. The offense has lacked a spark, as well as an ability to execute; injuries and the limited presence of down-the-field plays are also factored into this equation.
If the offense does show the ability to execute and become proficient, I would not be too quick to pull the trigger on the QB. While there are many variables when it comes to evaluating the play or inability of the offense, much rests on the shoulders of the QB; whether deserved or not, that is the nature of the game.
The game against the Giants on Monday night could ultimately be a defining moment in Anderson's career. Another poor performance should certainly raise the likelihood of a change being made, or the QB plays the 'good-Derek' role and the Cleveland offense helps this team regain its home-field edge it displayed a season ago. If there was ever a time where a changing of the guard could come to fruition, it will be against the Super Bowl champions at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
But, on Monday night, a home dog usually fares well and the attitude surrounding this Browns team has been this: its now or never.
At 1-4, the season is precariously close to being done, as it would take a monumental effort to get back into the mix realistically. I am of the belief we would have seen enough of Derek Anderson to gauge what he realistically brings to the table and need to determine whether Quinn is going to be a player who can manage the offense and lead this team.
It all comes down to the belief of the organization: does this team have a shot to make the playoffs with or without a change a QB and is this organization in position to evaluate for the future?
I expect much better showing by the Browns on Monday night against the Giants.