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News » Does it really matter which one Crennel wants to start?

Does it really matter which one Crennel wants to start?

Does it really matter which one Crennel wants to start?

Now that Romeo Crennel has declared quarterback Brady Quinn the starter for 2009, what does this mean for Derek Anderson, who led the Browns to a 10-6 record and made the Pro Bowl last season?

Are these final five games an audition for the eight to 10 NFL teams looking for a new quarterback?

Perhaps. But he might not want to put the house on the market just yet.

Why? Because Crennel might not be the guy making the decision on next season's starting quarterback.

If Crennel is fired - and signs are pointing that way - the new coach will want his say on Quinn vs. Anderson. Or - perish the thought - he may not be enamored with either.

If they land a strong-minded Super Bowl-winning coach like Bill Cowher, you can bet he'll make the call - even though the organization has settled upon Quinn as its quarterback of the future.

On Tuesday, Browns owner Randy Lerner admitted he's weary of the quarterback carousel and instructed the team to pick one guy and run with him. "I have said just that," said Lerner.

So when Crennel came out Wednesday and unequivocally named Quinn his man no matter what Anderson does in the final five games, it appeared he had that edict firmly in mind.

And how did Anderson feel about hearing Quinn was the starter regardless of how this season ends?

"I'll worry about it when the situation arises," said Anderson.

If the Browns hire a college coach or an NFL assistant with no head coaching experience, he might be less likely to challenge the organization's commitment to Quinn. After all, the Browns surrendered their first-round pick in 2008 to acquire him.

Even then, the new coach might recognize that Quinn is coming off a finger injury and has only one healthy NFL start under his belt. In that case, keeping Anderson might be wise - even though he's due a guaranteed $5 million roster bonus in March and has a $1.45 million base salary for 2009. Crennel acknowledged Wednesday having both back is a possibility.

"I'm giving it everything I've got," said Anderson, who has a 13-13 record as a starter, including 3-5 this year. "If I'm here, I'm here. If I'm somewhere else, I'm somewhere, else. I'll deal with it when that time comes."

If the Browns decide that keeping Anderson would be divisive for a locker room shocked by his benching, they'll trade him. But will a team be willing to trade for him before his bonus is due in March? Because it's guaranteed, the new team would have to pick up the tab. If the Browns can't trade him before then, they'd have to pay it and then trade him.

A team willing to pay the bonus might surrender less in a trade. If the Browns foot the bill, they'd probably get more in return.

Teams needing quarterbacks next season include Minnesota, San Francisco, Detroit, Kansas City and Tampa Bay. There's also uncertainty in places like Philadelphia and St. Louis.

What the Browns must decide is, are they positive Quinn is the guy after one healthy start? It certainly wasn't a unanimous decision to start him in the first place.

The Browns had hoped to have a much better evaluation of Quinn by season's end, but now have just 11 quarters to look at - and only four before he broke the finger in the first quarter of the Buffalo game. In those 11 quarters, he threw two touchdowns, two interceptions and went 1-2. In his lone victory, he had the benefit of four defensive takeaways and a 56-yard field goal by Phil Dawson. His 66.6 rating is only slightly ahead of Anderson's 66.0.

Quinn's rating dropped dramatically with each start - from 104.3 to 55.9 to 21.3 - but he was probably never the same after breaking the finger. Therefore, the Browns have only one start on which to grade him - a promising outing against a subpar Broncos defense.

If Anderson returns to his 2007 form in these last five games - and if playmakers, such as Braylon Edwards, can catch the ball - his trade value will increase or, he'll have made a case to stick around next season. Even Colts coach Tony Dungy acknowledged this week the Browns will do more Sunday with Anderson under center.

"We all have to play better for D.A.," said center Hank Fraley. "We didn't play well when he was in there before. As an offense, if we're playing well, he looks great. If not, he looks bad."

Another possibility, albeit remote, is the Browns trade Quinn if the new guy likes Anderson better.

So as of today, the Browns' growing off-season to-do list includes: deciding on the head coach, deciding on the general manager and deciding on the starting quarterback.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: mcabot@plaind.com, 216-999-4670


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Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 29, 2008

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