Toss up: Browns coach to flip coin to decide starting quarterback for preseason opener
CLEVELAND -- With Cleveland's quarterback derby a dead heat, Browns coach Romeo Crennel is flipping a coin to decide if Charlie Frye or Derek Anderson starts Saturday's exhibition game against Kansas City.
"That's the fairest way," he said.
Who makes the call, coach?
"Maybe we'll play rock, paper, scissors for that," Crennel cracked.
A hopscotch tournament is not planned.
And Brady Quinn's smiling face isn't on the coin, either.
All kidding aide, Crennel, who is entering a no-more-excuses third season in Cleveland, would like to name his starting quarterback for the Sept. 9 season opener against Pittsburgh as soon as possible.
This week's test against the Chiefs, who have their own QB competition, will allow either Frye or Anderson to gain an edge. But if neither shines while splitting the snaps, Quinn, who finally got to training camp this week after an 11-day contract holdout, could make up some ground.
Both Frye and Anderson have had good and bad days during training camp. On Thursday, they alternated making accurate throws during an indoor practice. It might not have been a coincidence that perhaps their best workout of camp came in Quinn's second practice since reporting.
"Ramped it up a little, didn't they?" general manager Phil Savage said.
Crennel said Frye and Anderson, who came off the bench and rallied the Browns to a win over the Chiefs in December, will play in the first half and will alternate series with the starters and backups.
"I'm going to make it as equal a competition I can so that when I make the decision as to who the starter is going to be," Crennel said. "They'll both have had a good opportunity."
Quinn will have to wait for his.
He showed off a fresh arm while working with the "show" team in Thursday's practice, but he's way behind because of his holdout -- he missed 16 practices -- and Crennel said he's only going to play the former Notre Dame quarterback for a few late snaps.
At some point this season, Quinn will likely take over as the Browns' starter. Frye, who started 13 games and showed his toughness by playing hurt last year, plans to hold him off as long as possible.
Crennel may feel the Frye-Anderson bout is even. Frye sees the Browns as still being his team.
"Until coach announces otherwise, that's the way I approach the situation -- with confidence in myself and in my abilities," Frye said. "Until coach makes that (starting) decision, that's always what I'll believe."
Chiefs coach Herm Edwards has his own quarterback dilemma.
And although he didn't resort to a coin toss to select his starter, choosing Brodie Croyle over Damon Huard could have just as easily been flipped for Edwards, who has needed a starter since trading Trent Green to Miami in June.
"It's even," Edwards said of his QB tussle. "It's been good competition. And that's what's great about it. And now we get into the games. The key is giving both of them a chance to be successful."
The Chiefs have been impressed with the 24-year-old Croyle's strong arm. His decision making needs work.
"(Brodie) has a very good arm and he feels very comfortable throwing some balls where you kind of close your eyes and hope it gets in there," Edwards said. "But that's the learning process. He's a talented guy and can throw the ball in all places."
The 34-year-old Huard, who will start the Aug. 16 preseason game against Miami, is hoping to hold off Croyle. Huard rescued the Chiefs last season when Green went down with a serious head injury, leading them to five wins in eight starts and a playoff berth.
Edwards is being equitable with playing time for Croyle and Huard. He'll also take into account other factors before picking his starter.
"Who are they playing in front of? Who's the offensive line? Who are the receivers?" Edwards said. "All that becomes a part of the process. It's not just the quarterback. It's the guys you surround him with. That all becomes part of the process, too. We've got to make sure both of them have the opportunity to play with the best players so we can see how they really play."
Neither QB will have a chance to hand off to running back Larry Johnson, still holding out for a bigger contract. Johnson wants to extend the seven-year deal he signed in 2003. He's scheduled to make $1.7 million this season, and is being fined more than $14,000 for every day of camp he misses.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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