Thursday, September 3, 2009

Quinn or Anderson? Pick one, Mangini

Eric Mangini must be out of his mind.
Now, I'm not trying to tell the man how to coach the Browns. He's got the credentials for that job; I don't. But it doesn't take a doctorate in the art of football to figure out it's wiser to make a decision now rather than later.
The decision that people in Cleveland await is the one Mangini has to make about who will be his starting quarterback. Since training camp opened in July, he's juggled Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson like a clown does tennis balls. Neither man has a sense of what the coach is looking for in this quarterback derby. Nor do Browns fans.
The secrecy that marks Mangini's button-down coaching style is unsettling. Fans like answers; they like to know what direction a team is going. But Mangini is navigating the football terrain as if he doesn't have a compass on what works in Cleveland.
I understand if he doesn't like the quarterbacks he inherited. He's been smart to take that approach when looking at the long term, because both quarterbacks are flawed. Quinn and Anderson haven't convinced anybody they can be the next Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. In Cleveland, they'd settle for anybody not named Tim Couch or Charlie Frye.
And Quinn and Anderson are those two anybodies.
Of course, they are all Mangini has to work with, and he's hamstrung both men with his own indecision. With the season opener 10 days away, he's fostered little confidence in whoever he hands the quarterback's job to.
At some point, he will have to pick between the two men, which probably makes their preseason performances tonight against the Bears the last chance to secure the job. The consensus of people who cover the team daily -- and they seem to have no more insight than the man behind the counter at the neighborhood 7/Eleven does -- is that the untested Quinn is ahead of Anderson, a Pro Bowler two seasons ago.
Yet what that consensus means is nothing, because Mangini holds the only opinion that matters. And he ain't talking yet.


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