If the Browns are going to stick with Anderson, they'd better be prepared to accept both sides of him. He can thread the needle at his best, but he has accuracy problems, makes bad reads and gambles too much. A better coaching staff might allow Anderson to refine his skills a bit more, but it appears that Good Derek and Bad Derek are a package deal. Take him or leave him as is.
Perception: Last year's offensive genius, this year's shrinking violet.
Reality: In 2007, the Browns showed up on Sundays believing that they were going to score points, believing that they had the weapons to win and knew how to use them. The brains behind the brawn belonged to Chudzinski.
This year, the Browns' bold, potent offense has been replaced by something far more conservative -- maybe even timid at times. Granted, when you are facing the defenses of the Cowboys and Steelers, you can be excused for wanting to minimize your mistakes. But Chud has allowed the offense to stray from the unpredictability that made it so dangerous a year ago. The vertical passing game has been eschewed in favor of lots of first-down runs up the gut and underneath passing.
It's not so much that it's a bad approach, it's just that Chud's offense has become far more vanilla and predictable than last year. Hopefully, facing the Ravens, and especially the Bengals, in the coming weeks will convince Chud to open up the offense a bit more. Because right now, this seems like training-wheels offense.
Perception: A guy who talks a much better game than he plays. The poster boy for arrogant, cocky, mouthy athletes who can't back it up on the field.
Reality: Behind the bravado and histrionics is a young man who is putting a tremendous amount of pressure on himself. He knows how much he means to the team, and it's playing no small part in his early-season bout with granite hands.
Edwards has always been known as a guy who doesn't have the greatest hands. Perhaps he doesn't have the naturally soft hands of a Jerry Rice. But most dropped passes are the product of what is going on between a receiver's ears.
The pressure isn't going away, so Edwards needs to take the pressure and turn it from a negative into a positive, from a burdensome weight to a challenge to which he must rise. And the sooner he can figure out how to do that, the better. His drops are killing this team as much as Anderson's errant throws and Crennel's game mismanagement.