Anderson Embraces New Opportunity

At the end of 2008, the Browns QB felt that his days in Cleveland were over. Now, he's got a fresh start with the same team...

When Derek Anderson's 2008 season was cut short by a knee injury on Nov. 30, he was certain he had played his last game with the Browns. He said his goodbyes to reporters in the locker room, convinced he would be in a different uniform in 2009.

But the Browns are in their second voluntary minicamp under coach Eric Mangini, and Anderson is still wearing an orange helmet, trying to prove himself to a new coaching staff.

"The end of the season you get a little frustrated," Anderson said.  "Obviously to get hurt and not finish the season the way I wanted was frustrating. But I'm happy to be back and working."

Anderson and his rival, Brady Quinn, were the subjects of trade rumors in the weeks before the draft.  Neither was dealt, and so, in his fourth spring with the Browns since being acquired on waivers from the Ravens in September of 2005, Anderson finds himself in a familiar spot - locked in battle with a fan favorite for the job of starting quarterback, knowing the majority of fans are rooting for the other guy.

In 2007 it was Charlie Frye from the University of Akron. This year the other guy is Quinn. Quinn was the other guy last summer, too, but Anderson was christened the starter in 2008 because he led the Browns to 10 victories and threw 29 touchdown passes in 2007.

All along Mangini has said Quinn and Anderson would compete for the starting job, and that certainly appears that will be the case. Quinn started with the first unit in two days of the first minicamp. Since then Anderson and Quinn have alternated starting, but Mangini says who breaks the huddle first isn't important because he is making sure both quarterbacks get an equal number of reps with the first unit.

"It's a new regime, new people," Anderson said. "I'm not going to compare what they (the staff of former coach Romeo Crennel) did to what we're doing at all. We're doing what they ask us to do.

"It's been a good start. It's football. There are football plays. One guy runs them one way and another guy runs them another way. It's just a matter of how he calls them."

Richard Bartell and Brett Ratcliff are also getting turns in the quarterback rotation, but Quinn and Anderson are getting the bulk of the work.

MINI-CAMP NOTES:

  • Kicker Phil Dawson is skipping his second straight minicamp. His contract runs through 2010. He quietly started asking for a new contract last year.
  • Coach Eric Mangini will head a football camp for 800 students in grades eight through 12 in Hartford, Conn., on Saturday. The entire Browns coaching staff and 2009 rookie class will be part of the event.
  • The Browns have started working on their no-huddle offense and two-minute offense and consequently working on the defenses to stop both attacks. Also, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll is using a hand-held transmitter to send in plays to the quarterback. In past coaching regimes that facet of the offense hasn't been installed until training camp.
  • The right side of the offensive line continues to be a work in progress involving Ryan Tucker, John St. Clair and Floyd Womack. Tucker and Womack are working at right guard. Tucker and St. Clair are working at right tackle.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Every team has an opportunity to be a contender. Nobody looked at Arizona to be in the Super Bowl last year and we were in the Super Bowl. We have as much of an opportunity as any other team." -- Former Cardinals cornerback Rod Hood on signing with the Browns.

DB CHANGE CONTINUES: The Browns added another cornerback before the start of their minicamp when they announced signing Rod Hood, a six-year veteran who played the last two seasons with Arizona. He started 14 of the 15 games he played with the Cardinals in 2008 and made 40 tackles, had one interception and broke up 14 passes. His numbers were better in 2007 - 55 tackles, 21 pass break-ups and five interceptions. He returned two picks for touchdowns. 

Hood, 28, was an undrafted rookie with the Eagles in 2003. He played four seasons in Philadelphia and intercepted five passes. 

Hood is the third veteran free agent cornerback signed by coach Eric Mangini and General Manager George Kokinis. Hank Poteat (Jets) and Corey Ivy (Ravens) were signed before the draft. The Browns drafted cornerbacks Don Carey from Norfolk State and Coye Francies from San Jose State in the sixth round.

In addition to the five new cornerbacks the Browns have a new safety in Abram Elam. Elam was acquired in a draft day trade with the Jets.


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