July 24, 2014

Elyria
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Dan Coughlin: Relax, Browns fans, QB situation will work itself out

Let`s enjoy this Browns` run of good fortune for as long as it lasts. Do not worry about solving an eventual quarterback dilemma.
Please, turn off the worry meter. Those things usually solve themselves.
Nevertheless, some fans fear that Derek Anderson is something short of the real deal. He`s too good to be true. He`s an accident, a freak, a mirage.
They`re afraid he`s potentially the reincarnation of Scott Mitchell, the yardstick by which flash-in-the-pan quarterbacks are measured. Those in this camp are already gearing up for another quarterback derby next summer in training camp.
The true believers, however, are convinced that with Anderson and Brady Quinn the Browns have an embarrassment of riches at the quarterback position and should trade one of them. It is a shameful waste for Quinn to stand on the sidelines wearing a baseball cap and holding a clipboard. Because they paid an exorbitantly high price to draft him and a whopper of a signing bonus and salary, they should play him or trade him, according to that thinking.
I never subscribed to that. Ideally, coaches should never know how much a player makes because it might influence their decision to play a highly paid player ahead of one who makes less. This is not an ideal world, however. Teams always try to justify big contracts.
“We`re paying him so much money we`ve got to play him,” is the rationale.
It`s a dumb rationale.
Anderson is one of the lowest-paid players on the Browns and among the lowest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL, a situation that will change dramatically this offseason when his contract comes up for renewal.
Quinn is already generously rewarded although there is little evidence to justify that. Sometimes you need blind faith.
What the Browns enjoy right now is a lucky situation with two healthy quarterbacks. Look around the NFL and notice the number of unproven backup quarterbacks pressed into emergency duty because of injuries to the starters. There are not many Brett Favres, who play almost two decades without serious injury.
This sounds ghoulish but it`s reality. Everybody in the NFL is playing on borrowed time.
American football is the most violent game ever invented since the days of Roman gladiators. It`s the only game in which head-on collisions at 100 miles an hour are permitted. If your bones aren`t broken, your head is.
The Browns` quarterback derby last summer was a rarity. Coaches usually do not choose their starting quarterbacks. The team doctors do. The history of Browns` quarterbacks over the last 50 years reaffirms that.
(bullet) Tommy O`Connell got the job in 1956 because of injuries to George Ratterman and Vito (Babe) Parilli.
(bullet) Frank Ryan, who led the Browns to the 1964 NFL championship, surrendered his job to Bill Nelsen in 1968 because of a shoulder injury.
(bullet) Nelsen played on creaky knees – wearing heavy stainless steel braces on both of them – until he was forced to abdicate in favor of No. 1 draft choice Mike Phipps in the early 1970s.
(bullet) When Mike Phipps went down with a shoulder separation halfway through the 1976 season, Brian Sipe got his chance and by 1980 was voted the best quarterback in football.
(bullet) Bernie Kosar was phased out because of an accumulation of punishment.
(bullet) Tim Couch`s career never got off the ground because of an expansion offensive line. He tried to make a comeback after major shoulder surgery but he had nothing left.
I would never, ever trade one of the Browns` quarterbacks until the one who isn`t playing becomes so unhappy that he divides the team. That hasn`t happened here yet.
Brady Quinn reaffirmed earlier this week that he`s a happy camper. He says he tries to stay ready and his morale is good. Coach Romeo Crennel said that Quinn is a good teammate, especially supportive of Anderson and Ken Dorsey.
So far, so good.
Contact Dan Coughlin at ctsports@chroniclet.com.