Quinn or Anderson? Mangini opens up QB job

Published 1:23 am Wednesday, March 25, 2009

DANA POINT, Calif. — Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson? Eric Mangini isn’t sure, so he’s throwing the Cleveland Browns quarterback job into a free-for-all.

‘‘I don’t have a projected starter at this point,’’ Mangini said Tuesday at the NFL meetings. ‘‘What we’re going to do is we’ll have an open competition where they’ll both get a chance to establish that they’ll be the starter.’’

Anderson, coming off a Pro Bowl season in 2007, opened last year as the starter. As the Browns struggled, he was benched for Quinn. Both quarterbacks subsequently were injured, and Mangini replaced Romeo Crennel as coach after Cleveland finished 4-12.

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Mangini, who was fired by the Jets after they collapsed from 8-3 to 9-7 and didn’t make the playoffs, has been on a quarterback carousel before. He had three starters in his three seasons in New York: Chad Pennington, Kellen Clemens and Brett Favre.

‘‘I’m excited about both of them,’’ he said of Quinn, heading into his third season, and Anderson, who will be in his fifth. ‘‘I sat down with both of them, been able to spend some time with them.

‘‘I like both guys. I like a lot of the things that I’ve learned about them in terms of through the conversations and also things that I’ve seen on tape.’’

What he also has seen on tape are lots of mistakes and lots of losses as the Browns plummeted from 10-6 in 2007 to last place in the AFC North. Anderson received a big contract after his breakthrough ’07 season, a three-year, $24 million deal with a $5 million bonus he collected this month. But he struggled before being replaced by Quinn for the ninth game.

Quinn, who has a five-year, $20.2 million contract, lasted just three games before breaking a finger on his right hand and needing surgery.