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Justice Is Served


September 28, 2009 12:05 PM

Browns have two QBs, none worth a darn

Browns coach Eric Mangini has faced the one thing he started the 2009 season trying hard to avoid. He has a quarterback controversy on his hands.

I can’t be hypercritical of his reluctance to entrust the job to anybody on his roster. Mangini had to pick among two pitiful options, and he picked Brady Quinn, a man whose skills aren't good enough to lead an NFL team to glory. Nothing Quinn did this season has proved this statement to be false; at best, he has shown he can be a backup for a bad team.

So how about Derek Anderson? Can he do any better than Quinn?

That’s the question Mangini and Browns fans sought answers to after Quinn, the Golden Boy from Notre Dame, played himself to the bench Sunday against the Ravens. Quinn, a former No. 1 pick, looked as inept as anybody who has played quarterback for the Browns since their reincarnation a decade ago.

The organization has been spitting out quarterbacks like Pez candy, and except for the Pro Bowl season Anderson put together in ’07, no one has taken ownership of the position long term. Quinn didn’t.

How bad Quinn has been is reflected in one set of numbers: 0-3.

I wish I could say his numbers were deceiving – that the Browns sported a won-loss record that misrepresented Quinn’s performance. But awful-and-3 is what the team has been under Quinn’s watch, which often reminded people of the defunct Tim Couch and Charlie Frye eras.

The Quinn era might be behind Browns fans -- thank goodness. But the way Mangini works, no one can be certain of it. He might still see a need to prove Quinn wasn’t a wasted a first-round pick, though wasted draft choices aren’t strangers to Mangini. Just look at his first draft as Browns coach. It didn’t yield much talent that is contributing.

That leaves Mangini to rely on Romeo Crennell's leftovers, and most of them had shown for years they didn’t amount to much – Anderson included.

Don't be seduced by Anderson’s 2007 success. It could have been just a confluence of extraordinary events, not necessarily an indication of his ability.

Uncertainty, however, remains on the latter point, but as bad as Quinn is, the ironfisted Mangini, a weak branch of the Bill Parcells coaching tree, might have a hard time justifying a decision to give Anderson the bulk of the playing time.

When Mangini benched Quinn after his disaster of a first half, the job seemed to belong to Anderson. But he took the field and also imploded in this 34-3 loss, which should get the merry-go-round at quarterback spinning again. Does Mangini turn next to Brett Ratliff, the third-string QB?

Regardless of whom Mangini settles on, he won’t have a productive quarterback until he surrounds him with more skilled pieces. He needs a fast, durable running back, a game-breaking wide receiver, a tight end who can block and catch and a stronger, more dependable right side of the offensive line.

It wouldn’t hurt the Browns if he could build a defense with the ability to stop opposing teams from turning a game into a scoring-fest. With either Quinn or Anderson, Mangini hasn’t put together a team that can pile up the points.

He might never have a team here that can do that, and he certainly won’t have one until he finds a quarterback who’s capable of running an offense effectively.

Neither Quinn nor Anderson has proved he can.

(Photo of Eric Mangini by bkrieger02's photostream)

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