Is Derek Anderson joining the Browns to teach or start?

Derek Anderson Pro Bowl“Are you kidding me?” my wife said to me as we were driving to my parents’ house on Saturday afternoon when I informed her of the Derek Anderson back to Cleveland rumors.

My wife (as many of you already know) isn’t a Browns fan. Sometimes I run Browns things by her just to take the pulse of a non-Cleveland sports fan to see if I’m nuts. Yes, my wife is biased in a way where she wishes the Browns were a better team because it would make her life easier without so many miserable Sundays per year, but that’s where it begins and ends. She has no affinity for any of the players, really, even if she did fall in love with Ben Watson and his adorable family as they were featured on “Road Tested.” Trust me, even that was a tough sell because there’s so much harbored sports hatred for current and former Patriots even as Indianapolis’ rivalry with them kinda left town when they released Peyton Manning. Even all that said, my wife’s response to the Derek Anderson rumors just about sums it all up.

Every coach likes to bring in familiar people who know their styles and systems. Mangini took it to the extreme to the point that he could have been compared to Vanilla Ice, but the further you get into following the NFL the more you realize it’s pretty natural. Holmgren never even coached the Browns, but because his systems were so prevalent in the minds of the organization he ended up bringing Seneca Wallace in. Bottom line being that it isn’t necessarily a bad thing to have some well-respected, experienced advocates on the roster as a head coach implements his system.

But Derek Anderson is a different case altogether. He’s not only a retread for the Browns, but a retread with baggage. No doubt that Anderson is experienced with Rob Chudzinski’s offensive philosophies by this point after playing for him for so long, but that still doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to resurrect the negative feelings of the past for so many Browns fans who watched yet another promising player fall from grace.

When Browns players fall from grace, they don’t land on their feet elsewhere and make the Browns regret they ever let them go. There are no tales of former Browns sticking it in their eye that come to mind. Brady Quinn didn’t get any revenge this year. Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards haven’t done anything that makes you kick yourself. Brian Robiskie, David Veikune, Eric Wright, Brandon McDonald, Peyton Hillis and on down the line have done very little to stick it to the Browns for letting them go.

Derek Anderson has started nine games since leaving Cleveland and none in the last two seasons. He was 2-7 as a starter in Arizona who desperately hoped he could take over for Kurt Warner after he retired. The then 27-year-old couldn’t do it as he threw seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions even though he had Larry Fitzgerald as a target. The last two seasons, Anderson has backed up Cam Newton and not done a whole lot.

So Anderson is reportedly heading back to Cleveland after leaving in a wake of acidic comments towards the fans and questioning whether they “deserved” a winning football team. Even if you can write those comments off to a combination of emotion, immaturity and disappointment, it’s tough for me to figure out how much value the Browns stand to gain compared to the potential controversy of bringing Anderson back. Even after Anderson left Cleveland fans might have piled on when Anderson was accused of not caring about a losing effort on the Arizona Cardinals sideline. I’m assuming he saw that on Twitter. To even risk that kind of ill will over a presumed backup seems somewhat ill-advised.

Then again, could the Browns possibly be aiming for Anderson to compete for the starting job in Cleveland once more? Keep in mind that this front office didn’t draft Brandon Weeden. Keep in mind that Derek Anderson and his seven years of experience come at an age that is still five months older than Brandon Weeden.

Only in Cleveland, right? I hate to say stuff like that because it lends itself to believing in curses or other such things that I’ve frequently written off as complete and utter nonsense. I don’t believe in voodoo and I certainly don’t believe in curses, but Cleveland sports seems to test that conviction on a strangely consistent basis. The logical side of me just wonders, what’s the worst that could happen? Derek Anderson comes in and makes Brandon Weeden better or somehow (and improbably) stabilizes the QB position. In the end, if Banner, Haslam and now Rob Chudzinski thinks this makes them the best football team to compete in 2013, then so be it. Shouldn’t that be the thought process?

It should be, but I just can’t get there yet. I can’t escape this one big unrelenting question.

Do Banner, Haslam and Chudzinski really think Derek Anderson is some kind of key to the Browns’ success in 2013?

My wife said it best. “Are you kidding me?”

  • Jaker

    To teach? Didn’t we just learn about a former QB who came here to “teach” the rookie QB? I don’t think DA will be able to keep up the teacher act for long. Unless he’s a changed man ( Ray Lewis “found Jesus” after murdering two people, so it’s possible), he’s gunna want to start here, especially if Weeden struggles.

    I’m not totally against bringing him in, but we should be cautious of a QB controversy that will most definitely surface.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Oh Craig you card, you funny man I don’t know which makes me laugh more teacher or starter! Kudos.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    “I don’t think DA will be able to keep up the teacher act for long,” sure he will Weeden will have a perfect example of what not to do. Can you imagine those practices? Oh baby!

    On a side note if this ends up being true, I’m still laughing this has to be a joke, I wonder how much Anderson will give Weeden to get his #3 back? I say Anderson should take #2 for a multitude of reasons!

    On a side side note it’ll be great seeing them together so that I can have visual proof of the similarities between Anderson and Weeden.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    Sure…why not? Bring him in.

    He recorded he best season of any Browns QB by far, and it was under the same coach we have now. I probably don’t worry about QB controversies as much as most fans, but if Weeden thinks he did enough last year to assure his spot, then he’s a bit optimistic. Bring him in to push Weeden. If he takes over, no problem…as long as he wins some games.

    Plus, how know’s? Maybe the last couple years have humbled him a bit.

  • Bryan

    This title seems too aggressive: “Is Derek Anderson joining the Browns to teach or start?””

    First of all, their is no report that Anderson is joining the Browns. Anderson, who is desperate for a job, has stated he WANTS to join the Browns. That is very different than saying he IS joining the Browns

    Second, even if he does join the Browns, there is ZERO concrete evidence that Chud wants him as a starter. DA clearly knows Chud’s offense. Almost any time a new offensive coach becomes a HC of a new team, he tries to bring in a veteran backup that knows the offense. That was precisely DA’s role in Carolina. Its the role Seneca Wallace had here for Holmgren/Shurmur. And it makes a lot of sense.

    Let’s not flame the fans emotions on DA until we at least know something more concrete.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Don’t pee on my parade and tell me it’s raining mister!


  • Harv 21

    Wait, doesn’t there need to be a GM before there is an offer of employment? Maybe Chud called him up informally and said “keep me in mind if you’re looking” and Derek, with typical brilliance, started fb posting.

    If he does come to camp, guess it means they’re collecting guys with vertical passing game arms. But this idea should really get the same deep-six as the white flag giveaway. Just a buzzkill if Derek Anderson trots onto that field again.

  • Aggressive? If he’s coming, it’s one of the two, right? Why else would he possibly be following his longtime offensive coordinator? You seem to be taking it out on me that you don’t like the reality of the situation if he comes back. 🙂

  • Bryan


    I am taking issue with the following phrasing: “Is DA joining the Browns to…”

    That phrasing means that he IS in fact joining the Browns. However, there is no evidence that he is joining the Browns. There is simply his own statement that he WANTS to join to Browns

    If he does end up with the Browns, I agree we would have a story. Until then, I think this type of headline is misleading.


  • saggy

    a quick aside: gotta give Harv some love for this response of 2 years ago (via the twitter article referenced above):

    “More likely DA’s another Scott Mitchell, a guy with some physical ability who had one great year in the right system, signed a big contract and disappeared.”

  • Bryan

    I think the following title is more accurate:

    “If DA joins the Browns, will it be to teach or start?

  • mgbode

    “Do Banner, Haslam and Chudzinski really think Derek Anderson is some kind of key to the Browns’ success in 2013?”

    No. Glad I could help out on this one.

    Cmon, Derek Anderson is likely a halfway decent backup in this league who can sit through the offseason with Weeden and help him learn. As to why you cannot do this with a coach? Well, there are NFL rules in place that do not allow coaches to have contact with players for blackout periods. Such periods do not exist between players and such practices are commonplace. There’s a reason coaches bring in a few of their former players everywhere they go.

    Now, if you want to get started on the “what should we offer SD for Philip Rivers” articles, then I will be quite happy to add to that conversation.

  • I do see where you’re coming from. It seems rather picky in the context of the player making a pretty public statement, but I’ll give you it is maybe a tad premature for that kind of wording technically.

  • TheRobot57

    The Mayans were right.

  • BisonDeleSightings

    If only we could get Derek Anderson to “disappear” with a post-contract 32-TD, 4300-yard season like Scott Mitchell.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Between this prospective news and Kim Kardashian spawning with Kanye West you could be right too!

  • BisonDeleSightings

    The inevitable Weeden-Anderson QB controversy: all the crappiness of the Quinn-Anderson duel, less of the hope.

  • mgbode

    but, more or less hope than Frye-Anderson?

  • BenRM

    If I had to guess, I’d say DA would be brought in to push Weeden for the starting job. God save us if DA is the starter next year.

  • cmm13

    Or maybe just .. “Is Derek Anderson Joining the Browns?”

  • cmm13

    Please both of you stop… my head is spinning.

  • TSR3000

    It’s 2013 now. That joke can be retired.

  • TheRobot57

    Could be a slow burn. It feels as though the world is ending with all these happenings.

  • frenchtoast

    People are acting like we’ve already signed this guy. For every tweet and report that says he’s coming I’ve seen one that says he isn’t. This article is kind of ridiculous and panders to that group of Browns “fans” that love to hate the Browns. I would be shocked if DA wears a Browns jersey again.

  • @TheDeePagel

    The name on the pay checks say Haslem. He can hire and pay any player he wants too with or without a GM.

  • SDA

    The Ray Lewis comment was Great I laughed so hard.

  • What is it 3 or maybe 4 steps backward?

  • Harv 21

    no man, you have the wrong Scott Mitchell contract. After careering in 2005 with those stats he busted in 2006 and THEN in 2007 the Lions gave him with a new contrract, including a then-enormous $8m bonus. He sucked after ’05, and lost the starting job either the year of his new contract or the next to Charlie Batch.

  • Harv 21

    don’t think Haslem is picking players pre-GM. He said he would not get involved in that, and why would he? There’s not exactly a league-wide scrum to sign Derek Anderson right now.

  • @TheDeePagel

    Do I think Haslem is picking players pre-GM? No.

    Does there need to be a GM before there is an offer of employment, as the questions was asked? No.