Over and over and over again these last three days, the replay of the Browns’ 17-0 loss to the Green Bay Packers last Saturday night in the preseason opener has been playing on the two TVs in the media room at Browns Headquarters.
And every day – in fact, sometimes even twice a day – for the last 2½ weeks, the same kind of dizzying, almost painful, “Groundhog Day-like” scenario has been going on on the field, in the the open competition for the Browns starting quarterback job between Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn.
Anderson makes a good play, then Quinn makes one.
Quinn bounces two balls at the feet of receivers, then Anderson does it.
Anderson throws a touchdown pass, then Quinn follows suit.
Quinn is intercepted, then Anderson gets picked off.
On and on it goes, and no matter what happens – good, bad or indifferent – nothing changes. Nothing appears to be getting accomplished. Every day seems the same. Neither quarterback has done enough – positively or negatively -- to separate himself from the other.
Maybe as part of that – or maybe not -- there is no end in sight for this QB derby. Browns head coach Eric Mangini looks to be in no hurry to drop the final curtain on it. He has said from the spring, during the minicamps and OTAs, that he has no set timetable to name a starter. He could name his choice tomorrow, next week, in two weeks or as the Browns take the field for their first offensive series on Sept. 13 against the Minnesota Vikings in the regular-season opener.
He’ll do it when he’s ready, and apparently, he’s not ready yet. When he will be ready is anyone’s guess.
Mangini was pressed at length on the quarterback situation on Wednesday during his daily press conference. He didn’t budge. He gave the same non-committal answers as he did way back when.
So every morning when Quinn and Anderson wake up, it’s as if the previous day never happened. They are stuck in a revolving door, going round and round.
Such has been the case the last two days. Both quarterbacks played poorly Tuesday morning, then each threw a touchdown pass on Wednesday, Quinn hitting wide receiver Braylon Edwards for 65 yards on the most impressive play of practice, and Anderson going to rookie wideout Mohamed Massaquoi for 20 yards at the end of the session.
Is Anderson ready for a change from this broken record; for the Coach to finally make a decision and declare a winner? Is he ready for the madness to end so that he, Quinn, and the rest of the team can at long last have some closure and be able to move on?
“No,” Anderson said simply following practice. “I think I’ve played pretty well. I just have to go out and keep working hard.”
Indeed. Every day, day after day.
Anderson said he didn’t know beforehand who would start against the Packers – it was Quinn – and he doesn’t know who’ll get the nod on Saturday night in the preseason opener against the Detroit Lions. Since Quinn had his turn already, you’d assume Anderson will get his next. But no one can be sure.
“I just come out and play,” Anderson said. “When it’s [Quinn’s] turn, he goes in, and when it’s my turn, I go in. When Coach Mangini tells me to go, I go.”
But would Anderson like to know who will start this Saturday? Of course he would. So would Quinn.
More importantly, they would also like to know ASAP who’s going to open against the Vikings.
They’re not holding their breath, though. That news will arrive when it arrives.
Until that happens, Quinn and Anderson are stuck in a box. They want for this to end, whether they admit it or not, but they can’t squawk about the fact it just keeps going on, lest they draw the ire of Mangini. Those who have gone against the grain of the coach’s wishes have paid for it with their jobs.
There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s Mangini’s team. He can do what he wants.
Anderson and Quinn just hope that what Mangini wants to do at some point soon is name a starter. After all, even Bill Murray finally was allowed to move on to a different day.
Oh, by the way, Quinn is scheduled to meet with the media on Thursday. But what more can he say that he hasn’t already said – again and again and again?