1st and Five: Quinn v. Anderson, TO v. Media, Leftwich/Garcia, The Lions Roar, and Duckett v. The World

Title: 1st and Five: Quinn v. Anderson, TO v. Media, Leftwich/Garcia, The Lions Roar, and Duckett v. The World
Date: September 30, 2009
Original Source: The On Deck Circle
Synopsis: You would think that by this point I would have learned to give up attempting to create weekly features, but you’d be wrong. 1st and Five was to be a weekly random-thoughts type of column on the NFL, and this was its first installment.

I couldn’t decide on an article topic today, so I’m rolling with five shorter ones in one (what a deal!). I could see this becoming a more common theme here as I struggle for writing time at work, and this style is invariably easier to chip away at. Name suggestions for this style of article are welcome, but for now we’re going with the following (ultra-creative, I know):

NFL: 1st and 5
NHL: Five for Fighting
NBA: Four Point Play
MLB: Four-Ply Wallop

The Brady Quinn Experiment
The Cleveland Browns decided they had had enough of the Brady Quinn Experiment this past Sunday, pulling him in favor of Derek Anderson at halftime. The logic is not that Quinn has made a lot of mistakes over his two-and-a-half game tenure, it’s that he hasn’t made much of anything – he’s shown a fear of passing downfield, and even his check-downs and dump-offs inside of 15 yards have been inaccurate. A 62.9 QB Rating is not cutting it, I guess. The alternate choice is Derek Anderson, a Pro Bowler in 2007 who is, to use a Favrism you’ll all understand, a gunslinger. Just throw it downfield, the motto goes, and it may get picked off (three times in the second half Sunday, for example), but it may net you enough touchdowns to make the Pro Bowl even with a shaky 82.5 QB Rating.
 More after the jump!
My bromance with Brady aside, I think this move is premature and foolhardy. The Browns are not going anywhere close to anywhere this year, so rolling with the younger QB makes sense. Additionally, Quinn has had very little time to gel with his offense under the new Mangini Regime, and it’s not as if Mangini has done wonders with QBs in the past. While Quinn’s reluctance to air it out or look towards top receiver Braylon Edwards is troublesome, it’s also an extremely small sample size playing behind a woeful offensive line with a mediocre running game. The odds have been stacked against Brady, and while he hasn’t done anything to solidify his hold on the job, in my eyes he hasn’t exactly done anything to lose it, either.

A switch to Anderson may provide a little bit more offense (remember those 40-35 shootouts with the Bengals a few years back?), but I honestly don’t believe in Anderson as a viable long-term quarterback, although he is just 26. Obviously, the Browns agree somewhat, since Quinn won the job out of training camp. Those who own Edwards in fantasy leagues (like me) are salivating at the thought of a 2007 re-connect between Anderson and Edwards (16 times in 2007!).

This week, Mangini has promised to select his starting QB early but keep it mostly a secret until game day (because that worked in Week 1?). However, it came out that Anderson will get the nod against a hungry Bengals team. Again, in 2007 this would have been a great position for Anderson to walk into, but this is 2009, and it’s a different story. Quinn will look good watching on the sidelines, and Anderson will struggle with turnovers per usual.

Terrell Ownes Being Goaded (Not Goated)
The tables have turned! Or should that be a question mark? Anyway, TO has essentially flipped the script on the media, putting them on the defensive and accusing them of being the disruptive presence. And he’s got a point.

The book on Owens is that he has always been an outspoken troublemaker, everywhere he’s been. However, as Owens always pointed out, he was just answering questions honestly…if the questions were leading or his answers misrepresented, that was out of his control. This season, however, Owens was determined to shake his bad teammate reputation in Buffalo, going so far as to not answer to the media after Weeks 1 and 2.

Now, however, the NFL has informed him that he has to speak to the media. I understand the NFL’s point of view, as they need their players to be accessible, personable, and…quotable. The NFL has looked down on Owens in the past for his disruptions, but they are not behind him trying to keep his mouth shut. Curious.

For a normal person, you could wonder why Owens can’t just speak to the media without speaking negatively about his team. For a football fan who has watched any Bills action this year, you’d know that the reason is two-fold: the media won’t construe anything he says to be anything but negative; and there isn’t much positive to say about the Bills right now.

So for now, Owens will ditch “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything,” for “if you don’t have anything nice to say, say something neutral and cross your fingers people don’t twist it around.” A possible solution: get Trent Edwards to look downfield, and this would all be a non-issue.

Of Lords and Leftwiches (And I Guess Garcias, Too) 
Byron Leftwich is now the third string QB in Tampa Bay, after a rough three-week audition at the helm. Leftwich actually looked good in Week 1, okay in Week 2, and awful in Week 3 – whether this was regression or match-ups is pretty obvious. Leftwich’s QB Rating was ugly so far, but again, he had productive games the first two weeks, so he can clearly play (he just can’t move).

For the Bucs, the move makes sense, getting speedy rookie Josh Johnson into action to see what he’s got. If he doesn’t have it after long, high-potential Josh Freeman could get a look. Johnson is the play for now, and he’s an interesting one as one of the best non-Division I college players of all time.

For Leftwich, it seems his time in Tampa is done unless one of the young guns really struggles. Tampa won’t do much in 2009, so it doesn’t make sense to impede the progress of younger players to get Leftwich in the game. It seems fairly likely he’ll be waived if either of the two young quarterbacks does well, adding another name to the available free agent QB pool.

Between Leftwich and Jeff Garcia, there are two readily available quarterbacks with loads of NFL experience and proven (kind of) track records. Teams like Oakland, Miami, and St. Louis and later down the road possibly Jacksonville, Tennessee, Buffalo, and Carolina could be in the QB market, and these two have to be considered options A (Garcia) and B (Leftwich).

And yes, I’m fully aware I’m a too-far-gone Leftwich apologist.

I Am Lion, Hear Me Roar
Normally people say “I hate to say I told you so…” Not me, I don’t mind saying it. And I told you so. At a party Saturday night, I tried to tell several people that the Lions were going to win on Sunday. Nobody, not even the Lions fan in the conversation, believed me, and they laughed me off. I also bet the Lions pretty heavily (straight up, not taking the points), and it paid off. The Lions beat the Redskins, as I’m sure you know, for their first win since 2007.

Sure, the last few years for the Lions have been ugly, but this win, while just one, is a strong sign of the changes in the franchise. Now led by potential franchise-changing players at QB, RB, WR, and TE (I know Matt Stafford and Brandon Pettigrew are nowhere near “there” yet), the Lions have some hope for the first time since the Matt Millen Era began.

The offensive line and defense need work, and promoting management from within after a decade of inept management seems strange, but a solitary win is a monstrous bright spot for a team that has been called every non-ferocious name in the felis family of animals. You’ll have to look to a Week 8 date with the Rams before you can confidently pick them again, but in the interim this team is likely to improve by season’s end and could be an under-appreciated Spreadbuster on your sports books.

Gettin’ Ducketts? They Still Waiting On Their Reparations
There are 10 teams averaging less than 100 rushing yards per game. There are 12 teams averaging less than four yards per carry. There are 10 teams with one rushing touchdown or less.

TJ Duckett, for his career, has been an adequate runner (3.9 YPC) and has been a touchdown monster (44 scores). He is also rarely hurt, punched in eight goal line touchdowns last year, has low mileage on his legs (717 career carries), and rarely fumbles (nine times in his career). Sure, he can’t catch, and his YPC is usually well below his career highs of 4.9 (2004) and 5.2 (2008), but he’s a bruising and durable runner that a team like Pittsburgh, among others, could desperately used.

Please get Duckett a jersey.

What? Hell yeah I self promote and cyber-stalk athletes, wrestlers, and rappers via Twitter! I sign on like twice a week, so it’s really easy tofollow me.

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