Thursday, June 4, 2009
Quinn, Anderson vie for No. 1 QB job
BEREA, Ohio -- Cleveland Browns coach Eric Mangini isn't afraid of a quarterback controversy, and he's in no hurry to name a starter.
With next week's mandatory minicamp concluding the offseason workouts, Mangini is content to go through training camp and at least part of the exhibition season before choosing between Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson.
"I want to go through the whole process, evaluate each phase, see it against other opponents," Mangini said Thursday before a voluntary practice. "It'll be pretty clear as to who should have the spot. It just has to reveal itself."
Neither quarterback has performed well in the handful of practices open to the media over the past month. Both have struggled to move the offense, particularly in two-minute drills, and have been inconsistent passers.
Mangini said a quarterback's presence in the huddle and his ability to execute the offense will be the chief criteria for picking a starter.
"Who can most effectively run the offense?" he said. "Who can look at the defense, understand what the coverage is and go to the right place with the ball? Who can see a blitz look and put us in the right play?
"The ability for us offensively to get to the right answer in a short amount of time, under pressure, that's what's going to drive the decision."
Mangini's analysis would seem to favor Quinn. Anderson has a much stronger arm, but Quinn's reputation is that of an intelligent leader who's always in control.
"It's extremely important and something I take very seriously," Quinn said of huddle presence. "You have to have a solid feel for the offense."
Anderson was admittedly grumpy after a sloppy practice on Thursday. He had to run a lap after taking a false start penalty, which resulted in nose tackle Ahtyba Rubin knocking center Hank Fraley into Anderson, who also hit the ground.
Anderson, who has 27 NFL starts compared with Quinn's three, is already tired of talking about the competition.
"I think we're overanalyzing the whole thing," he said. "We're in June. We're practicing, we're trying to get as good as we can.
"I play my best, Brady plays his best and coach picks who goes in."
Anderson was the starter for the first eight games in 2008, before being benched in favor of Quinn by former coach Romeo Crennel. Quinn started three games before needing surgery to repair a broken index finger on his right [throwing] hand. Anderson quickly followed him to the sideline with a knee injury.
Both were mentioned in trade rumors in the offseason, but Mangini insisted he liked both and wanted them back.
"I don't see any negatives right now," Quinn said. "We're both competing, working hard and it's gonna make us both better. I'm very confident I have the ability to win the job."
Anderson went through a similar competition with Charlie Frye in the 2007 preseason. Anderson lost, but replaced Frye in the first half of the opener and made the Pro Bowl after throwing 29 touchdowns.
After a disappointing 2008 that concluded with his injury being cheered by the home crowd, he's fighting for his job once again.
"It's not always the best way for the quarterback, but obviously for the team and for the coach it is, to get the entire evaluation process," he said. "I don't go into all this what-if-this, what-if-that. The only thing I can do is learn the offense as best I can and get the ball to guys in situations where they can make plays."
Mangini was asked if there's a scenario in which both quarterbacks could play in a game during the season.
"I would anticipate having a starter and moving forward with that starter," he said. "But I don't rule out anything."