The pressure of the NFL can ruin you if you let it. Derek Anderson was OK with it Thursday. (With box on 'Agony of the Irish')
The pressure of the NFL can ruin you if you let it. Derek Anderson was OK with it Thursday.
You knew that by the jocular way he warmed up for an indoor practice with fellow Browns quarterback Brady Quinn as rain fell outdoors.
Before the serious stuff started, Anderson walked to the opening -- big as a barn door – at the south edge of the building.
He let the drizzle hit his face, took a gulp of the late September air and raised his long arms to the dark sky.
Playing to a small crowd, he proclaimed, “I feel winter.”
This got a laugh from rookie first-round picks Quinn and Joe Thomas. This could be a good thing coming off a gloomy loss at Oakland.
Anderson is getting ready for his sixth NFL start and third this month on Sunday against Baltimore. What Quinn is preparing for is up in the air, in that Anderson’s monster game two weeks ago against Cincinnati is now haunted by an awful first half at Oakland.
The lull in the quarterback storm could go either way. It could get quiet if Anderson keeps lighting it up at home and learns how to play on the road.
Quinn will come back into focus if Anderson fares poorly against Baltimore’s elite defense.
Sunday will mark one month since Quinn last appeared in a game, the preseason finale at Chicago. Yet intrigue around him has grown.
During his senior year at Notre Dame, Quinn tended to be criticized for the games he didn’t win -- Michigan (41-27), USC (44-24) and LSU (41-14).
Now that Notre Dame is getting drilled each Saturday without him, analysts are praising Quinn for the 10 games he did win, including Penn State (41-17), Michigan State (40-37), Purdue (35-21) and UCLA (20-17).
“It’s nice of ’em to say that,” Quinn said before Thursday’s practice. “It wasn’t just me. We had a lot of other guys who I felt gave us a lot of support out there and helped us out.”
Last year, Quinn completed 78 passes for 1,017 yards to Jeff Samardzija.
This year, Quinn was a No. 22 draft pick, while Samardzija pitched in the Chicago Cubs minor league system.
Five other Notre Dame players were NFL Draft picks in April.
“There’s a lot of positions being filled in for right now that maybe aren’t where they were last year, the last couple of years,” Quinn said. “I don’t think they foresaw their season going the way it is, but I know they’re hard at work trying to get things back to where they can.”
Quinn is staying ready to win a game for the Browns as soon as he is called.
He is in his third week as the No. 2 QB, following the Charlie Frye trade.
Anderson gets most of the practice reps.
“The biggest thing is, while (practice) is going on, I try to find a spot where I can do my own little walk-through,” Quinn said. “You have to prepare as if you were the starter. You have to make up for the throws after practice.”
Quinn isn’t a patient spectator.
“It’s difficult at times as a competitor,” he said, “going out and not beating teams when you feel good about things, and your team’s doing well in practice that week, then not coming out and playing the way we’re capable.”
It’s hard for him to say much now.
It’s hard for anyone to know how Anderson is going to play.
Reach Repository sports writer Steve Doerschuk at (330) 580-8347 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Agony of the Irish
Brady Quinn was one of six Notre Dame players picked in this year's NFL
Draft. The Fighting Irish are off to an 0-4 start without them.
Round 1 Quinn, Browns.
Round 2 DE Victor Abiamiri, Eagles.
Round 3 OT Ryan Harris, Broncos.
Round 5 DT Derek Landri, Jaguars.
Round 6 DB Mike Richardson, Patriots.
Round 7 G Dan Santucci, Bengals; DB Nedu Ndukwe, Bengals.
Note: WR Jeff Samardzija was a projected high pick who opted for pro baseball.