Clash in Cleveland: Worth the Hassle?

By Chris Burrows

It’s still in the air who’ll be getting things into the air in Cleveland for next season since speculation that the Browns would be trading away one of their two top QBs ended per Head Coach Eric Mangini’s recent announcement. Instead they are keeping both Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn onboard and a fierce competition for the starting job has erupted.

Last season Anderson, Quinn, and backup QB Ken Dorsey shared the workload with 10, 3, and 4 credited games among them respectively. None of them were standouts then, either. The trio combined for just 11 total TDs (9 of which came from Anderson’s tosses).

This will be Anderson’s fourth season with the Browns but his stunning 3,787 yard 29 TD season in 2007 seems to be fading fast. It’ll be Quinn’s third season with the team and his first real shot at winning the starting job.

The battle for the top spot has seen a firestorm of media coverage that has pushed the QBs to the top of their games and Eric Mangini has stressed that this season he won’t be rotating QBs—there will only be one starter. He has also stressed that the two backs will be receiving equal amounts of practice time and snaps—which has been already been evidenced in Cleveland.

Obviously neither Anderson nor Quinn will be at the top of any fantasy charts but with drafts fast approaching it’d be good to know now who’ll be calling the shots in Cleveland. With the race currently in a CNN-style “too close-to-call” situation and a mum Mangini it’s important to note—is either of these guys worth the hassle?

The Browns are a very different team this season especially under the new direction of Eric Mangini who is already changing things up—penalizing sloppy play, making players fight for their jobs, and bringing a certain hard-nosedness to their game. This isn’t the 4-12 team that we saw last year. And they have the tools to do better.

18 transplants from other teams and 8 rookies make up the 2009 Browns roster. Two of the rookies—Brian Robiskie and Mohammed Massaquoi—were both picked up in the second round of the draft and will be competing for a starting receiver job with Dante Stallworth indefinitely gone from the team. They’ll breath some life into a stagnant position on the squad that Braylon Edwards is scheduled to return to and hold down for ’09.

The RB position is weak point for the team that will push the air-game that both Anderson and Quinn are capable of.

The turn-around has begun with a QB quarrel at the center of it—just as Mangini likes it. Fans are drawn to the idea of switching things up for once and Cleveland now has a chance led by a top staff of coaches.

With their team momentum carrying them into the season it’s a safe bet that Anderson or Quinn (whichever gets the nod) will be a productive flinger that—as Mangini has said—will be the starter for the entirety of the season. So, if nothing else, the winning QB has an entire 16 weeks of work ahead of him—none of that switching QBs nonsense of last year.

Don’t grab either in the early rounds of the draft but whomever gets the pick should be drafter fairly high with a possibility to start especially further down the road.