Derek Anderson (AP Photo)
While the retirement of Kurt Warner will certainly affect the efficiency of Arizona’s offense, the team now has two options to replace the future Hall of Famer. The Cardinals signed free-agent quarterback Derek Anderson on Wednesday, formerly of the Cleveland Browns. Matt Leinart remains the starter for now but Anderson could eventually find his way under center.
Former Cleveland Browns QB Derek Anderson is the latest free-agent addition headed to the desert. The Arizona Cardinals quarterback position enters the 2010 campaign with a great deal of uncertainly, but Anderson helps solidify the depth chart. Matt Leinart remains the starter for now but has done little over the past two seasons to prove he can fill the shoes of Kurt Warner.
While Anderson also came upon hard times since a breakout year in 2007, part of that blame can me placed on a dysfunctional Browns offense. Cleveland had few playmakers on the perimeter and never managed to develop a consistent running attack. During his four seasons with the Browns Anderson compiled a QB Rating of just 69.7 and tossed 46 touchdowns opposed to 45 interceptions.
Anderson’s best season came in 2007 where he totaled nearly 3,800 yards passing along with 29 touchdowns. Anderson led Cleveland to a 10-6 record but the franchise would quickly revert to its recent history of losing. Prior to his emergence, the Browns displayed their disapproval of Anderson by drafting Brady Quinn. The addition of Quinn created an ongoing quarterback controversy and neither player was able to emerge following the 2007 season.
Although the acquisition of Anderson was one of the best remaining options for the Cardinals’ front office, his short comings rival that of Leinart. Anderson has been plagued by inconsistent play throughout his career and has struggled to be accurate. Over the course of his four-year NFL tenure, Anderson is completing less than 53 percent of his passes including a career-low 45 percent in 2009.
Coming from an offense where Josh Cribbs was the only true threat, Anderson is likely salivating at the chance to play with Arizona’s skill players. If Anderson winds up as the starter, his career could be resurrected throwing to the likes of Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston. Furthermore, the Cardinals’ running game has improved tremendously since the additions of Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells.
Arizona can rest easy with two somewhat capable options under center but the team might still address the quarterback position during this April’s draft. The Cardinals aren’t expected to utilize a high draft pick on a young signal caller but could attempt to find a sleeper in the later rounds. However, Anderson and Leinart will be counted on to lead the Cardinals’ offense in 2010 and the foreseeable future.
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