Cleveland Browns: Quarterback Carousel Continues

Nate PowersCorrespondent IOctober 4, 2009

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 14:  Quarterback Derek Anderson #3 of the Cleveland Browns looks on during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 14, 2008 at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. The Steelers defeated the Browns 10-6. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Derek Anderson will start at quarterback for the Browns today against the Bengals. This marks the seventh time in two years that the position has changed.

Since their return in 1999, the Browns have had 21 changes at quarterback, granted nine were due to injuries.  My calculations say that 12 quarterback changes in 11 seasons is a little too much indecision.

And people ask why is it the Browns can't find a quarterback who can establish himself?

In these eleven years, the Browns have used a number one overall pick a third round and another first round on quarterbacks. Tim Couch lasted five seasons, Charlie Frye was gone after two, and Brady Quinn is on the bench again.

Only once has a quarterback started all 16 games for the Browns in an entire season; that was 2001 when Tim Couch started every game under Butch Davis' first season as head coach.

The following season after leading the Browns to their first playoff berth since the return, Couch broke his leg and Kelly Holcomb played a phenomenal game against the Steelers

Holcomb was named the starter the next year and soon suffered a broken leg. Couch replaced Holcomb and was told that he would be the quarterback from now on.

So what did the Browns do? They signed Jeff Garcia in the offseason and named him starting quarterback.

Looking back at stats I have decided to give you my top three quarterbacks since the Browns returned in 1999.

No.1—Kelly Holcomb. 

Holcomb had the best completion percentage and was the only quarterback to have a rating over 80. Yes he was 4-8 as a starter, but if Dennis Northcutt didn't drop the pass against the Steelers in the playoffs, or Dwayne Ruud decided to keep his helmet on his head instead of throw it across the field; or if the Browns could have beat the Bengals when Holcomb threw for 413 yards and five touchdowns it would be different.

No. 2—Derek Anderson. 

The best win percentage and the only quarterback to lead the Browns to a 10-win season. He has 43 touchdowns to Tim Couch's 64, and he did it in half of the attempts.  Should Anderson bail the Browns out again he should never have to worry about his job again. His low rating is due to the chances he takes downfield.

No.3—Tim Couch. 


The only quarterback to throw for 10,000 yards. He did throw too many interceptions but he was always looking over his shoulder and could never find a groove.

Trent Dilfer didn't take any chances.  Jeff Garcia couldn't stay healthy and he had a 0.0 rating against the Cowboys. Charlie Frye couldn't make decisions and he never really recovered from the butchery that was the Christmas Eve game against the Steelers.

It is hard being a quarterback in the NFL; it is nearly impossible to be a quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. 

Even when they do something good it's not good enough. If they do something wrong then it's time for a crucifixion. Do I expect Anderson to throw five touchdowns against the Bengals again? No, but I didn't expect it when it happened.

I do expect the Browns to move the ball and I do believe they are headed in the right direction with Anderson at the helm.

Mangini needs to make his mind up and stick with the quarterback he chooses because nothing good comes out of competitions and nothing good comes out of looking over your shoulder for the guy who is going to replace you.