I hate to admit it, but Phil Savage does have a point. “We left two quarterbacks (Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn) behind that both seem ruined right now.” Although we can’t blame this abysmal season on the quarterback situation entirely, it is a huge culprit. What should have been a team strength has morphed into a liability. Why?
We all thought this would be Brady Quinn’s year. He has been with the organization long enough to have established respect in the locker room along with a familiarity with the core offensive players on the team. His storied football IQ and his much talked about work ethic should have prepared him for consistency if not immediate success. Unfortunately, he could never win the starting job outright, and was only given the nod right before the season opener. Still, he should have been ready.
Derek Anderson was a Pro Bowl quarterback. He has a strong arm that should make the majority of QB’s in the league jealous. His only real problem is his inability to throw short. But, isn’t that what practice is for? Isn’t repetition on specifically designed plays a useful tool to help a player develop and turn weaknesses into strengths? Shouldn’t his “touch” be a non-issue in what is his third year as a Brown?
That is why Phil Savage’s comments make so much sense. He’s right. How have two very young and talented quarterbacks regressed so much under the oversight of this new regime? These are questions that have to be asked. There needs to be some accountability with regard to the development of players, especially players at such key positions.
One example that has eaten at me was the letting go of Martin Rucker. There have been very few legitimately thorough reports about what happened with him. The only thing that made any sense to me was with respect to his inability to block. Well, that seems ridiculous to me. Blocking may be a mentality, but it is also a skill set that can be taught. Surely a player with his explosiveness on offense could be persuaded to knock an opponent around for a few plays a game.
With Brady and Derek the same thing seems to be happening. Neither has made any strides and it would be silly to blame it on the team’s new faces. Other quarterbacks around the league seem to adjust just fine when new wide receivers are introduced. Even if we blame their stunted growth on another new system and coaching staff, I would have to argue that these are professional athletes and a few miscues aside, adapting and overcoming should be the rule.
Phil Savage made many mistakes as a GM. Our team overall was no better under him than the Butch Davis regime and the excuse was always that upon arrival “the cupboard was bare.” Same with Mangini. But eventually you can’t make excuses. You have to perform. Our quarterbacks aren’t performing and Savage’s insight should open everyone’s eyes. Something needs to be done. There is no excuse for this team to be in such shambles.