The Quarterback Non-Mystery

Crennel tries to befuddle the opposition, but can't take the luster from Quinn's performances...

Coach Romeo Crennel won't announce his starting quarterback for the season opener against Pittsburgh because he wants to keep the Steelers guessing.

In fact, Crennel is being so mysterious he will identify only Charlie Frye as one of the candidates. The other could be Derek Anderson or Brady Quinn.

"It's Charlie and Yes," Crennel said. "You tell me who you want it to be. I have three others I can choose from."

Mr. X is most certainly Anderson, but as long as the job is open, Quinn was asked if he might still start sometime this season despite a holdout that kept him out of 16 practices. He has a firmer goal in mind than 'sometime this season.' He believes enough time remains for him to win the job before the opener Sept. 9.

"I'd say, 'Never say never,'" Quinn said. "Guys are still competing and trying to show what they could do.

"The roster hasn't been set yet. This isn't Week One of the NFL. We have (one week) of hard work left in camp and we'll see how things go from there."

Even setting aside how he has stirred up a quarterback controversy with his play against the Lions and the Broncos (13 for 20, 155 yards, two touchdowns, 121.9 passer rating vs. Detroit; seven of 11, 81 yards, one touchdown, 116.1 rating vs. the Broncos) Quinn has acted more like a starting quarterback than Frye and Anderson at times.

Quinn did not press on the field when he did end his holdout. Instead, he slipped in as the next quarterback in the rotation and has gradually sharpened his passing as he gets more familiar with the receivers.

Quinn has spent free time catching up on the playbook. He was studying the offense and breaking down tape while in Arizona during his holdout.

Quinn sounds like a quarterback when he speaks. The Browns haven't really had that since Vinny Testaverde in 1994 and before him Bernie Kosar. Sam Rutigliano, a former Browns coach and now a regular on local television shows about the Browns, said that poise comes from having played for the Fighting Irish.

"Every quarterback has to be extremely confident when they take the field. I think poise comes into that," Quinn said. "You have to stay confident whether things go good or bad. You can't allow yourself to start getting too excited and force a throw or get too down, not being confident and not taking a throw when you have one."

Quinn won't speculate on how much further along he might be had he reported to training camp on time, saying his focus is focusing on looking forward and getting better. He is eager to get game experience with the first offense because it would mean going against a first-team defense in a game.

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