Browns Will Start Anderson Instead of Injured Quinn at Quarterback
INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts' coaching staff got a bit of a surprise Wednesday.
And although the news of the Cleveland Browns' quarterback situation changing four days before the game created a bit more work for the coaches, Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said it doesn't much change what's most imant about Sunday's game.
And Dungy said what's most important is this:
With or without Brady Quinn, the Browns can score.
And without or without him, they're good.
"Our defensive coaches had to spend a little extra time today looking at Derek Anderson and trying to get ready for that," Dungy said Wednesday as the Colts (7-4) prepared to play the Browns (4-7) at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, Sunday at 1 p.m.
"But we know what to expect going in there. Cleveland has a good football team."
The Browns also have a new starting quarterback.
And actually, it's their old starting quarterback.
Quinn, a first-round selection in the 2007 NFL Draft who had started the last three games, will miss the rest of the season with a broken right finger, the club announced on Wednesday. Anderson, a Pro Bowl selection last season and the starter in the first eight games of the season, will start at quarterback Sunday, Browns Head Coach Romeo Crennel said.
Anderson had replaced Quinn in the second half of the Browns' loss to Houston this past Sunday, a game in which Quinn completed 8 of 18 passes for 94 yards. Anderson, who replaced Quinn after the latter's second interception, completed 5 of 14 passes for 51 yards and no touchdowns with an interception for a passer rating of 17.3.
For the season, Anderson – 29 touchdown passes and 19 interceptions last season – has completed 126 of 257 passes (49 percent) for nine touchdowns, 1,505 yards and eight interceptions for a 66.0 rating.
The Browns, after ranking eighth in the NFL in total offense during a 10-6 season last year, are ranked 27th this season.
"It's kind of like our offense was – a little bit off early on," Dungy said, noting that despite the Browns' record they have victories over the 10-1 New York Giants (35-13), the 6-5 Buffalo Bills (29-27) and the 4-7 Jacksonville Jaguars (23-17). "You look at the Giants game and you know what kind of defense the Giants have. He (Anderson) carved them up pretty good. You saw that Pro Bowl-level play. Other games you don't see it.
"We're preparing for the guy who played against the Giants and against Jacksonville and put points up on two real good defenses. He's obviously is a good player. They have some great weaponry.
"We're going to have to be ready."
Also on Wednesday, the Colts released their first injury report of the week, with safety Antoine Bethea (ankle), middle linebacker Gary Brackett (hamstring), safety Melvin Bullitt (rib), defensive end Dwight Freeney (not injury related-resting), linebacker Tyjuan Hagler (knee), cornerback Tim Jennings (not injury related-resting), defensive end Robert Mathis (not injury related-resting), center Jeff Saturday (calf), safety Bob Sanders (knee) and offensive tackle Tony Ugoh (quadriceps) listed as not participating in practice.
Sanders, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, has missed the last two games.
"I don't think he's going to practice, at least not until later in the week," Dungy said. "My sense is we'd have to list him as doubtful right now and that's how we're approaching things.
"We'll see what happens. . . . We're just waiting and hoping that at some point, he'll be able to play."
Saturday, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, likely will miss 3-to-4 weeks, Colts President Bill Polian said early this week. Rookie Jamey Richard, a seventh-round selection from the University at Buffalo, is expected to start a third game at center in his place.
Richard replaced Saturday in the first quarter this past week against San Diego, and the Colts' line allowed just one sack.
"When we drafted Jamey, we thought he was a good player," Dungy said. "You think, 'Buffalo, maybe not the level of competition (of the NFL). It's going to take him a while to while to adjust.' It didn't. From Day One, he felt very confident in the huddle and he's done a good job.
"Probably, just from that background, it was surprising, but right now, we just think of him as the next center."