Quinn, DA Talk QB Battle

It was the last day of the first full-team minicamp, and Steve King got the chance to talk to the two combatants in the Browns' QB battle. Read to see what each thinks about Quinn being "named" "#1" exiting the voluntary camp...

For now, and for what that's worth, consider the fact it's just May 21 and the Cleveland Browns won't open their regular season for another 3½ months.

So don't get overly excited about anything that happens in the early stages of what head coach Eric Mangini said will be an open competition for the job in training camp.

But really, how can that happen in Cleveland, a town where the history of quarterback controversies seemingly began at about the same time the Terminal Tower was built? It wouldn't be a Browns season without considerable quibbling about who the quarterback is, and/or eventually will be.

Mangini said Thursday, on the last day of the team's first three-day, full-squad voluntary mini camp, and the only day the camp was open to the media, that Quinn also worked as the starter on Wednesday ahead of Derek Anderson.

The reason?

"Brady did an outstanding job in the offseason program," Mangini said. "That's not to say Derek hasn't done good job also, but right now, Brady is ahead. Really, though, there's no overwhelming significance to that.

"Our goal is to have balance in the competition, to even out the reps, the number of throws and the number of types of throws, so the body of work is exactly the same."

This is the first time in his three seasons that Quinn has been involved in an open competition for the job. He might have joined Charlie Frye and Anderson in the fray in his rookie season of 2007, but he reported late to camp after holding out in a contract dispute and never really could catch up.

Anderson lost out to Frye that year, but won the job back in Week 2 and kept it all year as he threw 29 touchdown passes, tied for the second-most in club history, and became the first Browns quarterback in 20 years – since Bernie Kosar following the 1987 season – to make the Pro Bowl.

Based on that, and with Frye traded to Seattle in the offseason and Quinn having thrown just eight passes in 2007, Anderson was given the job at the start of the 2008 training camp. He kept it for the first half of the season and, after he and the offense struggled, he was benched in favor of Quinn. Three games later, Quinn was lost for the season with an injury to the index finger on his throwing hand. Anderson went back in but played just two contests before being lost himself for the year with a knee injury.

With both men out of the picture, then head coach Romeo Crennel said Quinn would be the starter for 2009.

So, what does all that mean? Nothing, probably. Crennel was fired right after the season ended, and the people making the decisions now – Mangini and his offensive staff – have no personal stake in the matter in that they inherited both quarterbacks. Thus, they can look at the situation totally objectively. They don't care who wins. Quinn and Anderson, both of whom are now totally healthy again and raring to go, seem to totally understand that.

"I'm just trying to work as hard as I can, and if I complete my passes, I'll be OK," Anderson said. "There's always competition. No matter what you did the year before, you've got to show you've got it."

Added Quinn, "I'm going in there every day and busting my butt and trying to be the best quarterback, and teammate, I can be."

There were times –plenty of times, in fact – in the offseason when it appeared at leastone of the quarterbacks would be traded. Both of their names came up in any number of trade rumors. But as it turned out, nothing happened.

They're both still here.

"To be honest, I didn't pay a lot of attention to what people were writing, reporting or saying," Quinn said. "And anyway, how can I control that kind of stuff? What can I do about that?"

Uh, nothing.

To win the job, Anderson will have to prove he's better than what he showed last season, and more like what he exhibited in 2007. He had 20 less TD passes last year – just nine – and his quarterback rating slipped 16 points to 66.5. But to be fair, the rest of the offense deteriorated around him as well. Everybody's production fell way off. So don't put all the blame on Anderson. He had a lot of help.

"I'm trying to forget about last year," Anderson said. "I don't know what happened. All of us were bad collectively, just bad."

For Quinn, he has to prove who – and what – he is. He hasn't played enough for anyone to know, least of whom a set of coaches who weren't even with the Browns the past couple of years. But, as evidenced by his getting the "starting" nod, those coaches must like what they've seen of him thus far.

He just laughed at the mention of that.

"Today is May 21, Thursday, the third day of minicamp," Quinn said.

It's way, way early in the process, which means that a lot can – and no doubt will – happen between now and the start of the season to change the quarterback situation.


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