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Monday, August 31, 2009
Mangini still not ready to name starter

By James Walker
ESPN.com

BEREA, Ohio -- Despite Brady Quinn asserting himself and creating distance with a stellar preseason outing last weekend, the Cleveland Browns quarterback competition still hasn't been decided, according to coach Eric Mangini.

The Browns haven't named a starter for the preseason finale Thursday against the Chicago Bears, much less the season opener Sept. 13 against the Minnesota Vikings. Mangini says he wants to keep the quarterback competition ongoing between Quinn and Derek Anderson.

"We're going to go through the whole process," Mangini said bluntly Monday.

Rotating Quinn and Anderson in the regular season is not an option, Mangini added. Mangini's said in the past that once he makes his decision on the position he plans to stick to it.

After reviewing game tape, Mangini praised both Quinn and Anderson for their outings in Saturday night's 23-17 win over Tennessee. Quinn started and threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Braylon Edwards -- Cleveland's only passing TD thus far in the preseason -- and finished 11 of 15 for 128 yards against the Titans, one of the NFL's top defenses.

Anderson went 7 of 11 for 77 yards, but made two questionable throws and was sacked on a play that killed a potential scoring drive.

"He did some positive things," Mangini said. "Regardless of which quarterback was in for that play we probably would have eaten dirt."

It may be Anderson's turn to start, but Mangini hasn't decided how he will use his quarterbacks for Cleveland's final exhibition game on Thursday night in Chicago.

Mangini approached Titans coach Jeff Fisher for insight on how to best use his starters in the fourth exhibition, normally a game where the starters play one or two series and rest up for the opener.

Against Tennessee, Quinn played four series to just two for Anderson. Mangini has been careful not to show any favoritism and has been mindful of evenly splitting the practice reps and playing time between the two. A quarterback controversy could be a potential distraction for any team if not handled correctly, but Mangini feels there are positives in having his two QBs rotate with the first- and second-team offense.

"You get guys working with a lot of different people," he said. "Over the course of the weekend there were a couple of different quarterbacks hurt in games and now the No. 2 guy goes in and who knows how long he's going to be in? Maybe he hasn't gotten that kind of work, so now you have to radically transition to that person.

"I think the upside with working with a lot of different people was there is always uncertainty. There are always injuries and hopefully we won't have any but usually during the course of the season there is."

Mangini felt both QBs were in rhythm with the offense while they were in the game. The revolving-door approach could make it tough for continuity, but wide receiver Mike Furrey said there is no drop off whether No. 10 or No. 3 is lined up under center.

"At this point it just seems, whoever's in there, either one of them, it just seems so comfortable," Furrey said. "They know what they're doing. We have trust. We've been around each other for the last three or four months. We've earned the trust and the respect from all of them, so it's kinda like whoever's in there, we trust in them, they trust in us. It's been real comfortable."

Mangini is relying on his experience in New York to guide him through the Quinn vs. Anderson quarterback dilemma. During his first summer coaching the Jets, Mangini was patient while Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens battled it out.

"I think it made both guys better and I think it made us a better team," said Mangini, who eventually named Pennington his starter before the season opener.

That announcement came after weeks of constant peppering by the New York media. It's been no different in Cleveland, where Mangini's daily news conferences center on the QB conundrum.

"I don't remember when I did it [name a starter], but I know I would get the questions," he said. "I'm not trying to be difficult for the sake of being difficult."

In other Browns news, the team made a surprise cut by releasing veteran cornerback Rod Hood. Cleveland signed Hood in free agency after he was a solid contributor for the NFC champion Arizona Cardinals in 2008.

James Walker covers the AFC North for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.