Despite reports to the contrary, and as of approximately 11:30 p.m. EST yesterday, the Browns still have yet to make a firm decision on who exactly their quarterback will be this coming Sunday. Part of the reason for that is to keep the Bengals guessing; and part of the reason is, simply, the head coach hasn't yet made up his mind.
With that being said, all the leading indicators point to the coaching staff leaning – albeit slightly – toward keeping the status quo at the position.
"Not all of the problems with the Cleveland Browns in 2008 are on (Derek Anderson), but he's certainly not immune to having his job scrutinized," a Browns source told The OBR. "It's not written in ink, but unless there's a major shift in the way the (coaching) staff is currently thinking in the next couple of days, (Anderson) will be on the field for the Bengals game. At least to start with."
Organizational meetings have been ongoing since the embarrassing loss to the Ravens Sunday, with the situation at the quarterback position taking up a sizeable chunk of the club's time. While there is a fast-growing faction – including some in the locker room – that wants to see backup Brady Quinn this week, the club's top decision-maker on Sundays has yet to reach his tipping point. The point he has reached, however, involves the leash currently attached to Anderson's starting job.
The Pro Bowl QB will be on an extremely short leash come Sunday should he remain the starter. So short, in fact, that head coach Romeo Crennel will likely just ditch it altogether and grab hold of Anderson's collar with his bare hands. And the QB is well aware of it.
"You never want to say it's do-or-die time in this league, but this is about as close as it gets. If Derek gets the start and plays the way he's played the last two games, he knows that he'll probably get yanked," a source close to the quarterback said.
According to multiple sources, several of the top people in the organization have made it clear to the head coach that they are in favor of a move to Quinn right now; as of yet, however, Crennel has not been "forced" into making a switch. The club is allowing their head coach to coach, and allowing him to make the decisions as to who is or isn't on the field. For the time being, at least.
While there are no certainties as of yet as to who the starter will be come Sunday, one thing is quite certain in talking to multiple people over the past 48 hours or so: the Quinn Era in Cleveland is closer to beginning than ever before, and that more and more people within the organization are of the belief that it's a matter of when and not if the Notre Dame product takes the spot under center this season.
THE QUINN-TO-KC "SITUATION"
Yes, the Chiefs very much have an interest in acquiring Quinn; hell, we've reported in this space for months that teams call the Browns on an almost-weekly basis regarding the availability of both their quarterbacks. And yes, The OBR confirmed today that the Chiefs have ramped-up their efforts in the last two weeks or so.
Simply put, though, the Browns do not have any interest in dealing either of their QBs at this time. None.
Regardless of what the reports you see out there say – including some on this very network – there has been no discussion on the Browns' end regarding compensation. Any report you see that contains the phrase "the Browns are looking for (x) in compensation" are simply incorrect. The Browns aren't seeking anything as they have no intention of dealing from what they perceive to be a position of strength.
As one source put it: "Quinn's not going anywhere. DA's not going anywhere right now. That's the beginning and end of that story."
Yeah, what he said.
THE RAC "SITUATION"
Let's put this one to rest, for now: there were no serious discussions at any organizational level as to firing the head coach following the latest embarrassing divisional loss. From the owner on down, the loss left a sour taste in everyone's mouth in Berea, but not quite enough to force a move just yet.
However, according to a Browns source, the notion of firing Crennel at some point during the season has not been taken off the owner's table even as it's not being actively discussed. "It is an ongoing situation and could be revisited if the year continues to slip away from us. Look, nobody is being let off the hook – not the players or coaches or anyone," the source said.
The source also strongly intimated that the Browns' brass is giving some leeway to Crennel due to the multiple injuries . The injury excuse, though, will only carry Crennel so far the source said; injuries or not, this team needs to turn this thing around in a hurry and "stop embarrassing the owner."
THE RAC RESIGNATION "SITUATION'
For those who did not see it, there were multiple rumors floating around cyberspace this afternoon which stated Crennel was going to resign at some point between now and tomorrow morning.
A highly-placed Browns source told The OBR earlier today that there was "absolutely no truth to (the rumored resignation). The organization is completely focused on beating the Bengals." Earlier this evening, a source close to the head coach reiterated that stance in nearly the same language.
"That's just ridiculous. There is zero truth in that rumor," the source said.
There is the possibility – albeit a very slim one – that wide receiver Braylon Edwards could be benched for the first series of the Cincinnati game. The subject has been broached – and even endorsed by a key member of the organization – in the time since the latest loss.
Crennel was quite upset publicly when discussing the blocking-in-the-back penalty on Edwards that negated a first-down run by Jamal Lewis; privately, he was incensed over the penalty and, needless to say, Edwards was quite aware of his coach's feelings on his performance in this game, specifically, and this season in general.
In the end, however, it's unlikely – given the injury situation at the position – that Edwards would be forced to the bench for even one series let alone a half or an entire game as has been suggested.