Why Cleveland Is Having a QB Controversy (Again)

Andrew BrittonCorrespondent IJune 7, 2009

ORCHARD PARK - NOVEMBER 17:  Quarterback Brady Quinn #10 of the Cleveland Browns runs the ball during the game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 17, 2008 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by: Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

The Cleveland Browns' page has seen an intense influx of articles questioning the QB controversy. The answer is obvious. It's Cleveland. They HAVE to have a QB controversy.

The End.

Kidding. Mostly. I hope.

So down to the slightly more legitimate answers. Cleveland has two potential starting QB's (or none at all, depending on how you look at it). Both have the ability to experience at least moderate amounts of success under different systems and with the correct supporting cast, but it is more than obvious that if Coach Mangini stays true to his "core characteristics", the choice will be an exceptionally simple one. Brady Quinn.

I don't see a reason for the "I Want to Marry Brady" fan club. Anderson isn't a worthless quarterback. That is not what makes this decision so simple. What does make for an easy decision is the criteria that Mangini has claimed he will use to evaluate players, and more specifically quarterbacks.

He likes intelligent players. Quinn has a clear advantage. He wants someone who manages the huddle well. Quinn has a clear advantage. He wants someone who grasps the offense, can make the right reads, and predict blitz's—quickly. And again, Quinn has the clear advantage. He wants someone who can run the two minute successfully. Quinn has struggled with Anderson the last few weeks in practice with the two minute, but based on Anderson's extreme failures, not Quinn's success, Quinn pulls the advantage.

So where's the part about the controversy? Haven't I just repeated what all the other eight gizillion articles said?

Trade Value

If Mangini makes the decision instantly, he is essentially saying, "I have a clear superior." Now who really wants second rate Browns' players? Could Cleveland have gotten more value for Anderson after his Pro Bowl year? Yeah, but all the crying isn't going to change anything. So stop.

Mangini is trying to convey "I am Mangenius, and even I can't figure out who is better. They are both really good! You should give me something valuable if you want the loser." He supports this when he talks about how he likes having both QBs on the team. He wants other teams to feel that Cleveland values both players. Do other coaches see through this? Probably. Could it help? Sure.


Competition is good. It puts pressure on both guys to perform. Even if there is a clear starter, making the players work for spots has beneficial consequences. Telling both guys they need to impress and then adding the unspoken and-if-you-don't clause benefits both players.

Worse case scenario: when Mangini makes his way to game one he will have both a starter and backup who have worked very, very hard this offseason.


Having to prepare for two quarterbacks is more difficult than preparing for one. Vastly more difficult? I don't know, the Vikings will have a pretty clear idea of who is going to start by the time they start seriously preparing for the Browns. But it is one more variable. It is one more glitch. It won't win or lose the game, but it will probably help a little bit.

What is the cost? What do the Browns lose from all this? Well, every other starting QB is getting twice as many reps with their first teamers than Cleveland's QB. This is consequential, and not in a good way.

The gamble that Mangini has made is that the positives outweigh the negatives. Is it a good gamble? Well, we can discuss it till the cows come home (a Midwest figure of speech for a long time), but at the end of the day it doesn't matter. The cards are dealt, the chips are on the table. Mangini, and the Browns, will live or die by the results.

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