NFL: Quinn to replace Anderson
BEREA, Ohio ó Here’s a switch: The Cleveland Browns dropped Derek Anderson.
The inconsistent Pro Bowl quarterback, whose production this season has been slowed by dropped passes, was benched on Monday by the Browns, who will start popular backup Brady Quinn on Thursday night against the Denver Broncos in hopes of turning around a disappointing season.
The surprising and unexpected swap was announced Monday by the team, just hours after coach Romeo Crennel said he had no plans to make a change.
On Sunday, Anderson threw a costly interception that was returned for a touchdown in the final minutes of a 37-27 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The pick prompted Browns fans to begin chants of “Brady! Brady!” for Quinn, the former Notre Dame star who has thrown just eight passes in two seasons.
Those fans are getting their wish.
A team spokesman said Crennel and Quinn would not be available for comment until Tuesday.
Earlier, Quinn was asked for his reaction to hearing fans scream his name.
“We lost the game, really that’s all that matters,” he said. “That’s something in the NFL, everyone always loves the backup. That’s just how it is.”
Browns center Hank Fraley found out about Anderson’s demotion when he got a text message during the afternoon from the QB.
“I was surprised,” Fraley said. “I’ve become real good friends with Derek and I feel for him. I told him to stay positive. He will. He’s a team player.”
Anderson had gone 132 pass attempts without an interception before he was picked off by Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, who stepped in front of a screen pass and ran it back 42 yards for a TD. Anderson finished 17-of-33 for 219 yards and two TDs, but the 25-year-old’s stats would have been even better if wide receiver Braylon Edwards hadn’t let a certain TD pass in the fourth quarter slip through his hands with the game tied.
Fraley was asked if Anderson, who has completed less than half his passes, was the fall guy for the Browns, who were expected to contend for a playoff spot coming off a 10-6 season in 2007.
“That was the coaches’ decision,” he said. “Maybe they feel like he (Quinn) will bring a spark. It’s tough because Derek is a great guy, a team leader and a captain.”