Derek Anderson's red zone woes
Posted Mar. 13 at 03:46 AM
I’m just starting to work on the Cleveland story. One of the bigger issues here is whether Derek Anderson will slip back in his second year as a starter, perhaps with defenses doing a better job of game-planning for him. If that happens, of course, Brady Quinn could make a run at the job.
One thing I hadn’t noticed before about Anderson: Despite putting up good overall numbers last year, he actually wasn’t that good in red zone situations, completing 30 of 66 passes, with 3 TDs. That’s a 45 percent completion rate. Only two teams (Minnesota and Miami) had lower completion rates in that area, and only the Ravens threw more interceptions.
Still, I don’t Quinn as a big threat to steal the starting job. Quinn was the No. 22 pick in the first round, of course, but I don’t see that as a big deal. Historically, in fact, the success rate for quarterbacks selected late in the first round has been remarkably low. Since the Dolphins struck gold with Dan Marino with the next-to-last pick in the first round in 1983, these are the quarterbacks who’ve been selected 19th or later in the first round:
1987 Jim Harbaugh, Bears
1991 Todd Marinovich, Raiders
1992 Tommy Maddox, Broncos
1997 Jim Druckenmiller, 49ers
2002 Patrick Ramsey, Washington
2003 Kyle Boller, Ravens
2003 Rex Grossman, Bears
2004 J.P. Losman, Bills
2005 Aaron Rodgers, Packers
2005 Jason Campbell, Washington
2007 Brady Quinn, Browns
That’s a remarkably low success rate. Maybe it means something when the rest of the league doesn’t snap up those quarterbacks earlier in the round – if some team was confident they were going to be big stars, they would have been selected much earlier. It makes you wonder why more teams aren’t scared to use those high-round picks on quarterbacks. You’ve got to have a good quarterback to win, but it doesn’t make any sense to burn first-round draft picks.
So until Quinn shows me something – until I’m sure he can play – my assumption is that Anderson is going to be the Cleveland starter. And Anderson should be pretty good. The team has a nice offensive line. The free-agent pickup of Donte Stallworth could help him, and Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow really stepped up their games last year.
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