BEREA — Coach Romeo Crennel tried to explain Derek Anderson’s fall from grace Monday.
A week earlier, on “Monday Night Football,” Anderson threw for 310 yards and two touchdowns and looked like a Pro Bowler. Six days later, he went 14-for-37 for 136 yards, a touchdown and a 57.9 rating in a 14-11 loss to the Redskins.
“There are a couple of things that happened,” Crennel said. “Some of the supporting cast, they were unable to make some plays. I thought the protection wasn’t as good as it was Monday night. And then he wasn’t as good as he was Monday night. When you put it all together, then you’re not very effective.”
Anderson’s struggles this year — he ranks 32nd in the NFL with a 62.9 rating and has a 49.2 completion percentage — have been marked by slow starts, which he hasn’t been able to overcome. He’s a rhythm quarterback who’s only found his rhythm for five quarters spanning the end of the Bengals win and the entire Giants victory.
Anderson got off to a terrible start again Sunday. He was 1-for-8 for 6 yards in the first quarter, 2-for-6 for 11 yards in the second, 2-for-5 for 23 yards in the third and 9-for-18 with a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
“We missed some things early and it leads to frustration,” receiver Braylon Edwards said Sunday.
Crennel was asked if Anderson is seeing the field well and able to find the open man, rather than locking in on a target.
“It depends on where the first read takes him and if he stays with that first read or not,” Crennel said. “If he reads the whole field, he sees ’em. Sometimes a guy will stay on one side if there’s someone there he likes and feels like he’s going to be in the right place.”
Crennel said backup Brady Quinn continues to stay at “high alert,” but wouldn’t say whether Quinn might be called on Sunday in Jacksonville.
“That I cannot answer right now,” Crennel said.
The Browns thought they had solved the problem in the communication system in Anderson’s helmet, but he said it didn’t work five or six times Sunday. That included on the final drive as Anderson tried to get the Browns into field-goal position to force overtime.
After Anderson sneaked for a first down with 1:10 left, he couldn’t hear the coaches and ran toward the sideline to get the call from quarterbacks coach Rip Scherer. By the time the next play was snapped, 24 seconds had run off the clock.
Crennel was asked if Anderson is allowed to decide himself to spike the ball to save time.
“Generally that’s a coaching decision,” Crennel said. “We felt like we had enough time. He wanted to get the play correct and so he came over and got it. At the end of the game there was still time on the clock, so it didn’t hurt us per se.”
The Browns failed to pick up another first down and Phil Dawson missed a 54-yard field goal with 32 seconds left.
After a franchise-record 16 touchdown catches last year and a career-high 154 yards against the Giants last week, Edwards dropped four passes Sunday.
“We have to keep coaching him and keep working with him,” Crennel said. “Focus and concentration and to get him to relax and let the ball come to him. And not tighten up when the ball does come to him.
“We know he can catch the ball, he can make good plays for us. We have to get him to do that on a consistent basis.”
Right tackle Ryan Tucker was inactive Sunday with a sore knee, and Crennel didn’t rule out surgery. Tucker missed the first four games as he recovered from a broken hip, then started against the Giants as Kevin Shaffer sat out with a concussion.
“There’s a lot of wear and tear on that knee and it got impacted because he had to play the whole game,” Crennel said. “So it swelled up on him a little bit. It’s gotten better, but we’ll have to see.”
• Defensive end Corey Williams returned to the game after injuring his left shoulder and said afterward that he was fine. But Crennel said he would be further examined Monday.
“We’ll see how that’s going to play out for us,” Crennel said.
• Special teamer Shantee Orr left the game with a foot injury and was scheduled for an MRI on Monday.
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