John Taylor's "Rumor Has It..."

This isn't Court TV, it's the NFL, and the Cleveland Browns' immediate future revolves the team's starting quarterback. John Taylor has been working his sources inside Berea to find out EXACTLY where things stand... and it's not as advertised...

--While head coach Eric Mangini rightfully refused to put a "leader" label on either Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson heading out of the final minicamp of the spring, multiple Browns sources have told The OBR that Quinn will head into training camp this summer with the slightest of edges for the starting job. 

--Said one source, when asked why Quinn might have that edge on Anderson: "Look at what they'll be doing between now and July.  That'll give you a hint."

--Make no mistake: the way the two quarterbacks go about their job and their preparation carries a certain amount of sway.  It's not something that's gone unnoticed by either the head coach or the offensive coaching staff.  The fact that Quinn will continue his training regiment and Anderson, well, won't certainly carries some weight

--For what it's worth, a Notre Dame source who remains close to Quinn tells The OBR that he hasn't seen the former Golden Domer "this confident in a very long time."  "He feels this is his shot, his team," the source said.

--For what it's worth, an Oregon State source thinks that Anderson "needs to get the hell away from Cleveland, start fresh somewhere else."  When asked why he felt that way, the source said that Anderson "will never be given a fair chance [by the fans]".  It should be noted and stressed, though, that's not the way Anderson feels.

--Don't be fooled, however, into thinking that this is Quinn's job to lose.  "There are things that DA does that [Quinn] couldn't even think of doing.  It's a matter of getting him to do those kind of things consistently, you know, and kinda get rid of the other shit that makes him such a roller coaster ride," one source said, adding, "[Anderson's] one of those enigma-wrapped-in-a-riddle players that you know has greatness in him but just can't get to the point where he's reliable."

--Make no mistake: those around the team know the single biggest decision they will make as they embark on their first year in Cleveland is who will be starting under center.  And that's precisely why this will be a pure competition come summer; Mangini and his staff want to be absolutely certain, have every last bit of data, before finally settling on a starter.  They won't be rushed or pressured by outside factors or feelings into making a decision before they are ready and certain.

--(Translation: neither the fans nor the media will play any role in the decision-making process.)

--Two Browns sources have told The OBR that there is no truth to a report appearing on the otherwise outstanding blog No Logo Needed that Quinn is having issues picking up new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll's offense.  "If anything, his football intelligence is one of the best attributes he brings to the field," one source said, adding, "[Quinn] is having no issues with the new system that aren't to be expected."  Said the other source, "Any quarterback will have some issues here and there with any new offense, especially one who doesn't have the in-game experience.  But, whatever issues [Quinn or Anderson] are having is no more than what's considered 'normal' this time of year."

--That being said, the organization is not exactly impressed with how either QB performed during the voluntary and mandatory minicamps.  The struggles weren't completely unexpected, but the extent of the struggles over the course of multiple practices certainly raised both eyebrows and concerns.

--The hope is that one of the QBs will grab the job by the throat during the first two weeks of camp and not let go.  That might be wishful thinking, however, as the two are close enough in the competition that it will likely take the completion of a couple of fake games in order for the dust to settle and a starter to emerge.

--This piece is nearly complete, and there's been nary a mention of Brett Ratliff as he relates to the QB battle.  And there's a reason for that.  As Bill Engvall is wont to say, here's your sign.

--People have often wondered how Anderson is viewed around the league, especially considering the fact there was little to no interest in the former Pro Bowler this offseason.  Based on conversations with multiple people around the National Football League over the past few months, this is a rough sketch of how Anderson is perceived: He's the 34D blonde with the thong-ready ass you're dating who you really hope doesn't embarrass you too much when friends come over for a game of Trivial Pursuit..

--(Thanks to an unnamed executive for leading me in the direction of the above analogy, albeit with language -- including the words "camel" and "toe" combined in the same sentence -- that would make a sailor who became a trucker blush.)

--All of the above being said, there is one -- at least -- very staunch defender of DA residing in Berea.  And with that staunchness, you can add this person has a lot of sway.

--Again, and it needs to be reiterated, this is not a done deal one way or the other.  It can be safely said that there are definitely leanings in one direction amongst the major decision makers -- the public pronouncements not withstanding -- but this will, again, be played out as a true competition, beginning in late July.

--Is all of this vague enough for you?  Good.  It should be as there's vagueness and uncertainty abounding in Berea as to what exactly will transpire as it pertains to the QB position.  There may be a very slight leaning right now in the direction of one of the combatants, but there is truly no consensus at all for the slightest bit of a public hint to be given.


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