Mangini plays coy with starting QB
BEREA, Ohio -- The bye week didn't change Eric Mangini. He's still keeping secrets.
Cleveland's coach did not reveal his starting quarterback for next Monday's game against the Baltimore Ravens. During the Browns' bye week, Mangini said he would announce "early next week" if it would be Derek Anderson or Brady Quinn under center on national TV.
On Monday, Mangini said he will wait until Wednesday before making his QB choice public.
"I know where I'm headed, but we'll talk about that on Wednesday," Mangini said during his news conference. "I haven't talked to the quarterbacks about it yet, so that's part of it."
Anderson's poor play in recent weeks might prompt another change. He is the NFL's lowest-rated quarterback with a 36.2 rating and is coming off a 6-for-17 performance with two interceptions in a 30-6 loss to the Chicago Bears. Since taking over for Quinn in Week 3, Anderson has thrown two touchdown passes and nine interceptions while going 1-4 as a starter.
His rating in the fourth quarter is almost hard to believe: 3.1.
Anderson, who took over when Quinn was benched in the second half of Cleveland's third game at Baltimore (4-4), turned down an interview request as the Browns (1-7) returned to the practice field after getting a few days off. Quinn spoke to reporters but had little clue about Mangini's plans.
"I have no idea," he said. "I'm looking forward to trying to get better today and I'll take it day by day. That's really all you can do at this point."
Mangini's secrecy is nothing new. He didn't announce Quinn as his starter for the season opener until an hour before kickoff.
There's no doubt Quinn would like another chance to show what he can do. He came in for the final series against the Bears, mop-up duty that could have just as easily gone to Brett Ratliff, who has yet to step on the field this season. Quinn completed nearly 60 percent (46 of 77) of his passes during his 10 quarters of action, which came against Minnesota, Denver and Baltimore. The Broncos have the league's top-ranked defense.
Given another chance, Quinn isn't sure what he could do differently.
"I don't know," he said. "Looking back in the series that I had, I felt pretty comfortable with my decision-making with a couple of exceptions. I would just try to go out there and get better and make something happen."
It may not matter who runs Cleveland's inept offense. The Browns have scored just five offensive touchdowns, two less than the New Orleans defense. The Saints have outscored the Browns 303-78. It's as if they're playing another sport.
And as the never-ending QB saga drags on, the Browns returned from a bizarre bye week that included general manager George Kokinis' mysterious dismissal without any more information being provided about his ouster.
One week after Kokinis was relieved of his duties, the team has yet to explain the circumstances surrounding his departure after just nine months on the job.
Owner Randy Lerner wants to bring in a vice president of football operations, an overseer who could help clean up a franchise in need of a makeover. That person's role would be similar to the one held by Bill Parcells with the Miami Dolphins.
ESPN.com reported that Lerner intends to contact former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, who stepped down after last season to spend more time with his family.
Lerner said in an e-mail response to The Associated Press that he would not comment on "rumors/speculation."
Holmgren has said he wants to return to pro football. He held dual titles of coach and GM with Seattle for four seasons before being stripped of his management duties before the 2003 season. Last year, Holmgren said he was envious of Parcells for having a cushy executive position.
Mangini, who has come under fire halfway through his first season with Cleveland, said Lerner's search for a football czar would not be a distraction to him or the team.
"There's so many things that come up during the course of season, really like any other part of what you're teaching, it's very important that you focus on what's important," Mangini said. "What's important for us is what we're doing on a daily basis and our preparation for the next opponent."
Mangini said he continues to have discussions with Lerner and that he has no misgivings about adding a proven football mind.
"What I believe in is that anybody who can help us be successful, whether it's a player, coach, whoever it is, I'm open to anybody who can help us improve," he said. "We're always looking to do that."
As for Holmgren, Mangini refused three times to address direct questions about the Super Bowl-winning coach.
"I don't have anything else to add to what I said before," he said.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press