QB Battle: We Have a Winner, But...

UPDATED 3PM: Eric Mangini has selected a winner in the QB battle. He's just not going to tell us who it is...

Browns head coach Eric Mangini said Monday that he has selected a winner in the open competition between quarterbacks Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson.

But, as previously believed, because he's convinced it causes an opponent problems in its preparation, he won't announce it publicly until sometime over the weekend, maybe even as late as just before Sunday's regular season-opening game against the Minnesota Vikings at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

"Being on the other side of things as a defensive coordinator, I know it's tougher to plan for two quarterbacks than it is for one," Mangini said.

As for when, specifically, he will announce it publicly, he said, "I haven't looked that far into the weekend, but it will not be throughout the course of the week. We're going to keep it internally."

But won't the news get out somehow, some way?

"Maybe. Maybe not," Mangini said.

He said he hasn't even told the quarterbacks yet, either, but will do so soon. He also would not say when, exactly, that will happen.

"I will talk to them independently," is all he would say.

Mangini added that he will encourage both of them "to be supportive of each other and of the team."

He called the process he used to make the decision "thorough and detailed. I looked at the whole body of work beginning in the OTAs and the minicamp.

"I'm happy with the progress both of them made. I'm happy with their work and how they competed."

He added that now the decision has been made, he doesn't anticipate making a change.

"I never go in thinking, ‘How are we going to change this?' " Mangini said. "I'm just thinking about which is the best player for us to be successful."

It's thought by most people that "the best player" is – and always has been -- Quinn. After all, in the first three preseason games in which he and Anderson played before they sat out the finale last Thursday night against the Chicago Bears, he was 21-of-31 passing (67.7 percent) for 225 yards, one touchdown and one interception for an 86.1 passing rating, which is higher than any regular-season mark for a principal Browns quarterback in the expansion era (Kelly Holcomb, who finished up 2002, had a 92.9). Meanwhile, Anderson was 15-of-26 for 207 yards (57.7 percent) for no TDs, two interceptions and a 51.3 rating, which is lower than any regular-season mark by a principal Cleveland QB since Mike Phipps had a 47.5 in his final season with the team in 1975.

Critics of the passing rating say it's not an accurate measure of a quarterback's work. That may be true, but, other than winning and losing, it's the most accurate measure in existence now. Thus, Quinn's and Anderson's ratings mean a lot – a lot.

Body language can tell plenty, too. When both quarterbacks last met with the media, last Tuesday, Quinn bounced around, his shoulders upright, as if he had just won the lottery, while Anderson slouched around as if he had just lost his last friend.

And then on Monday, though they didn't talk to the media and aren't slated to do so until possibly Wednesday, Quinn again bounced around the locker room and on the field, while the fun-loving Anderson kept his head down a lot and was a little more goofy than usual. At the end of an agility drill, he kicked one of the blocking pads that had served as obstacles.

It is the same kind of behavior he exhibited in 2007 when, upon learning he had lost out to Charlie Frye in an open competition during training camp and the preseason, he moped around and, on the opposite side of a practice field, far away from where everybody else was at, he took a football and kept throwing sky-high pop-ups to a ball boy.

Kicking a blocking pad as if attempting a field goal with it? Throwing your arm out while playing catch with some 8-year-old? Those appear to be juvenile, "I don't care anymore" type of acts.

Maybe he sees the handwriting on the wall that everybody else sees.

But, unlike 2007, it's not likely that, even if Quinn would struggle right off the bat as the starter against the Vikings, the Browns would yank him after a quarter and a half and insert Anderson, just as they did when Frye was awful in the opener two years ago against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But again, we won't know any of this for sure until probably Sunday – unless, of course, somebody on the team or associated with the team spills the beans.

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