The disappointing season of the Cleveland Browns took another downturn on Sunday when the Browns lost their second quarterback in as many games.
Two weeks ago against Houston, the Browns lost Brady Quinn for the season with a broken finger originally suffered the week before against Buffalo.
Then in the waning moments of Sunday’s 10-6 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland lost former and returning starter Derek Anderson to a torn MCL in his knee.
With both players done for the season, the 4-8 Browns limp into Tennessee now with journeyman Ken Dorsey as their starting quarterback.
To say Dorsey has been inactive of late would be like saying the stock market is in a slight dip. Over the past three seasons, Dorsey has thrown four passes _ three of them on Sunday’s final drive that ended in an interception after he replaced an injured Anderson.
Ironically, enough the last time Dorsey completed a pass came in 2005 at LP Field when he was with the San Francisco 49ers. On that day, he completed 23 of 43 throws for 192 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
“I don’t know much about Dorsey,” defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said. “Their offense is scary. They’ve got a lot of weapons. We’ll go into this game really not knowing much about Dorsey and what he brings to the game.”
The Browns are also expected to be without tight end Kellen Winslow, who suffered a high ankle sprain Sunday.
As for Dorsey, the Titans hope to extend him the same courtesy they have been doing to quarterbacks for most of the season _ a frequent pass rush.
“That’s the key. Anytime you’ve got a guy that hasn’t been under center all season, that hasn’t been taking reps with the first team, you try to disrupt his timing and try to get to him early if at all possible,” Vanden Bosch said. “Scheme-wise, we’ve been able to get to [the quarterback] with mainly just our front four. I don’t know if that means we’ll necessarily blitz more. I think it just means we’ll stick with what we’re doing.”
Titans coach Jeff Fisher said Dorsey has the experience and capability to run the Cleveland offense.
“He’s going to go in there and execute their offense. That’s what he does,” Fisher said. “He has experience in this league. We’ve seen him. He came in for three plays and knew exactly what to do with the football. It was a tough situation after the sack on second-and-20, third-and-20 and fourth-and-20, but he gave them a chance to make some plays.”
Fisher expects Dorsey to improve with the starter’s share of the practice reps this week.
“He’s going to get a full week of practice. Since the reality of the Brady Quinn situation became apparent, he became their backup,” Fisher said. “So he got backup reps instead of third quarterback reps, and now he’s going to get the benefit of a full week of practice.”
IN CONTROL: Vanden Bosch, for one, likes the fact that the Titans are closing in on clinching the AFC South and can do so with a victory over the Browns on Sunday.
“We’re kind of in the driver’s seat. We can control what happens to us postseason-wise. We don’t have to hope other teams lose,” Vanden Bosch said. “All we have to do is take care of what’s in front of us, and the first step toward getting into the postseason would be winning this week. Again, you start to look forward, but you can’t look past this week. We haven’t clinched a playoff spot. We haven’t clinched our division. It would be helpful to take another step toward any postseason possibilities.”
Vanden Bosch said that until the Titans clinch that he still regards them as somewhat of an underdog to the Indianapolis Colts in the race for the division crown.
“The way I look at it. They’re not chasing us. We’re still chasing them. They’ve owned this division for a long time, so until we actually win this division, it’s the Colts’ division,” Vanden Bosch said.
HEALTHY TEAM: Fisher said the Titans could be without some players in practice as precautions early in the week, but indicated that his club is extremely healthy for this time of the year.
Defensive tackle Jason Jones, who has missed three weeks with a foot injury, could be back this week.