Throughout offseason training activities, minicamps, and training camp, I have tried to avoid addressing the Browns’ quarterback situation as best I can.
Head coach Eric Mangini has stated numerous times that “no quarterback has stood out” and that he doesn’t plan on naming a starter until perhaps the morning of the season opener.
Today, however, I am going to make a bold statement by saying that Derek Anderson has absolutely zero chance of being named the Browns' starting quarterback for 2009.
I believe this for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, there were reports that the Browns had a first round pick on the table for Brady Quinn and Mangini turned it down.
Now think for a moment—Mangini didn’t draft Quinn, and he reportedly was offered a first round pick for him, but he didn’t think it was worth it.
Had someone offered a first round pick for Anderson, do you think Mangini would have jumped all over that? I believe so, but we will never know.
I don’t know what Mangini’s thoughts were on Sanchez, but when you take over a new team and have an opportunity to draft a potential franchise quarterback and opt not to, that says something.
Third, Mangini and former head coach Romeo Crennel have a long history with each other. They worked together for five seasons in New England, and when Crennel accepted the Browns' head coaching position in 2005, Mangini was his first choice as defensive coordinator. Mangini opted to stay with the Patriots under the same title.
Mangini also inquired about Crennel staying on with the Browns in an unspecified role, which speaks volumes about their relationship.
I’m sure Mangini tried to find out as much information about the players he could through Crennel. He obviously watched film from the past two seasons on top of consulting the former Browns head coach.
Then there is Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis, who was the Patriots' offensive coordinator when Mangini was the secondary coach. As we all know, Weis coached Quinn for two seasons at Notre Dame and probably had a major impact on the Browns’ decision to draft him.
I would not be shocked if Mangini and Weis have had a number of conversations about the former football star from Dublin, Ohio.
Now I don’t know if all or any of these conversations even occurred, but it’s ignorant to think that there was no chance of them transpiring with the history that these coaches have with one another.
Possibly the biggest reason Anderson is a long shot to be the starting quarterback is his inconsistency. Mangini saw it in 2007, when the Browns had a chance to lock up a playoff birth against the Bengals and Anderson folded. He saw film from the Oakland and Arizona games.
He wasn’t born yesterday, folks.
He’s stated that once he picks a quarterback, he’s sticking with him. He tested Anderson in the Brown and White scrimmage when he turned the radio off in his helmet to see if he could improvise and call a play on his own. Anderson threw an interception on the next play.
In the first preseason game, Anderson threw two passes in two series. One of them was a pick, and the other one was incomplete. In the next game, against a team that didn’t win a single contest last season, he moved the ball down the field and led them to two scores.
Mangini put Anderson in for the last series in the first half to see him in the two-minute offense. Instead of taking a sack to end the series and punt, Anderson threw a high pass that tipped off the hands of James Davis and right to a Detroit defender. The Lions kicked a field goal to end the half.
Inconsistency. Even though it is preseason, Mangini takes note of things like this—attention to detail.
In Quinn’s first game, he was 7-of-11 for 68 yards and an interception. Braylon Edwards dropped a would-be touchdown the play before Quinn’s interception, which Packers safety Anthony Smith said he “stole away from Edwards.”
In the second preseason game, Quinn was 3-of-5 for 29 yards, with two completions that were negated by penalties. Without the penalties, Quinn is 5-of-7, making him 12-of-18 (66 percent) with an interception in two games, while Anderson is 8-of-15 (53 percent) with two interceptions.
Accuracy goes to Quinn, another characteristic to go along with consistency that Mangini is seeking.
So even though Mangini has not named a starter yet, he must know in the back of his mind who he’s leaning towards and who he can count on for consistency every week.
If the first two games are any indication, Mangini’s answer is Brady Quinn.