Mangini on QB Race: 'I Think It's Very Close'

DA seemed to close whatever gap existed in the race to become the starter, and Mangini seemed to confirm it following today's practice. Fred was in Berea today, and has the latest on that and the strong "show me the money" performance by Cribbs Saturday.

Berea—It remains to be seen whether the Browns WR/KR/ST ace/QB or whatever other title you want to give him follows through with his threat to boycott the regular season if he doesn't see progress on a new contract.

The Browns surely can't afford that.

Josh Cribbs has shown that he definitely is one of the few difference makers they have on offense or special teams. He is a threat to make a play or score a touchdown any time he gets his hands on the ball. He had the longest run and biggest offensive play against the Packers when he ran around the end on a reverse for 28 yards.

He had a 95-yard return for a touchdown to open the game—it wasn't his fault Abe Elam was holding. He had an 84-yard punt return for a score later in the quarter. He caught a 20-yard pass from Derek Anderson in the first quarter.

"I feel like our special teams are moving on all cylinders right now," Cribbs said after the game. "We looked real good out there.

"This was an improvement by our first team," he said. "We had a lot of great blocks."

Cribbs was already a threat on special teams, but teams can choose to kick out of bounds or away from him. If he ends up being a regular in the wide receiver rotation, he will be able to bring that big play threat to the offense on a more regular basis.

"I feel real good there," he said. "I feel like I am at home there. There is big potential plays right there."

Mangini agrees.

"He's doing a nice job," Mangini said. "He's making good progress. He's an aggressive blocker and does a nice job in that role.

"He's definitely shown he's grown in the position and has the aptitude to play the position."

Mangini didn't rule out that Cribbs could not only return kicks and punts, but also play regularly at receiver.

"There have been a lot of starters who have been kickoff and punt return players."

Cribbs has four years left on a contract he signed under Phil Savage and the new Browns regime doesn't want to set a precedent for re-doing existing contracts.

However, if there is an exception, or some way to add an extension to his deal, they should find a way to do so.

Cribbs was happy to have a strong showing in front of the home crowd.

"It felt really good to have a win in over there (at home)," he said. "We can do it."

QB Update: Mangini said this week will be no different than the previous two in terms of who will start at quarterback on Saturday night against the Titans.

"I'll wait until the end of the week and let you know about it."

Mangini said he's still confident the process will play itself out.

"The way I'm looking at it is to make the best decision and give each guy the maximum opportunities and let it play itself out," he said. "I think it's very close."

Did Derek Anderson have a very good game?

"He did a nice job throwing the ball," he said. "There are some things we need to continue to work on—that goes for both quarterbacks."

RB Shuffle: Typically, RB Jamal Lewis is a back that says he likes to get the ball 20-30 times a game. Mangini said he isn't opposed to one back carrying the load or having several backs.

"I've used multiple backs in the package," he said. "It matters what kind of sub packages you use. I'm not opposed to one guy carry the ball a lot. I'm not opposed to having several backs carry the load."

But what if James Davis and Jerome Harrison take some away Lewis' carries.

"Jamal is a team player and he will do what is best."

Not Happy: Mangini wasn't happy with the penalty called on DB Eric Wright after his interception that took the Browns from the five to the 20.

"When you make a good play, you should want to celebrate, but you have to do so not to hurt the team," Mangini said. "It wasn't unique to Eric in terms of celebrations.

"I'm not going to set up a celebration police, but I just want them to do it in the right context."

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