I’ve Got A Secret

Published 1:18 am Tuesday, September 8, 2009

BEREA — Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson still don’t know who won their competition. The Vikings are in the dark, too.

Cleveland’s starting quarterback remains Eric Mangini’s secret. And he’ll keep it as long as he can.

Mangini has finally made his choice between Quinn and Anderson, but the Browns’ first-year coach declined to identify who will start Sunday’s season opener against Minnesota. On Monday, he said won’t reveal who will open at QB anytime between now and kickoff.

Email newsletter signup

‘‘In terms of announcing it publicly, that’s not something I plan to do,’’ he said. ‘‘It will be internal. I understand everybody has a different opinion on it. I respect that. I understand the excitement in relationship to that and I respect that as well. But that will be something that will be internal.’’

Before practice, Mangini said he had not yet told the quarterbacks who won the job and that he plans to meet with them individually to discuss his decision.

Months of speculation will last at least a few more days.

Both Quinn and Anderson claimed ignorance about a topic that dominated Cleveland’s training camp and exhibition season.

‘‘I know as much as you guys know,’’ Anderson said as he dressed at his locker stall.

Quinn didn’t seem to be in any rush to find out.

‘‘I’m not worried about it,’’ he said. ‘‘You guys are more worried about it than I am.’’

It was not clear if Mangini talked to either of the players following his news conference and before practice. During the 30 minutes the workout was open to the media, both Quinn and Anderson went about their business without any visible signs of a winner — or loser — being declared.

As the players stretched out, Lady Gaga’s hit single ‘‘Poker Face’’ blared through the outdoor speakers, an appropriate tune on another day when Mangini refused to tip his quarterbacking hand.

A former defensive coordinator, Mangini said he wants to keep the Vikings quessing.

‘‘It is more difficult to plan for two (quarterbacks) than it is to plan for one,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m not saying that’s going to be the difference or not the difference, but I know that there is time allotted to that and you can’t put the same amount of time into focusing on one player.’’

Vikings coach Brad Childress was asked if the uncertainty of Cleveland’s quarterback would affect Minnesota’s defensive game plan.

‘‘It doesn’t,’’ he said. ‘‘Just schematically, you’re going to go back and look at tape and see what you’ve seen. And then I know, as do our guys, that there will be unscouted looks. They certainly haven’t showed their whole hand, offensively and defensively. So you’re just going back and looking at formation-wise where they’re putting people and what kind of players they are. It will be more about us deploying to what they do.’’

Childress’ starter at quarterback was resolved when the club signed Brett Favre. He said he’ll wait until Sunday before choosing Tavaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels as his backup.

‘‘But at least you know who the starter is here,’’ he said, playfully jabbing Mangini.

Quinn and Anderson have been competing almost since the moment Mangini was hired as Cleveland’s coach in January. He had no track record with either player and wanted to evaluate them through minicamps, training camp and four exhibition games before making his decision.

Surprisingly, he sat Quinn and Anderson in last week’s preseason finale in Chicago. The pair finished in a virtual statistical stalemate, with Quinn throwing the lone touchdown pass and Anderson tossing two interceptions.

Mangini felt both QBs improved during their battle and said he plans to keep Quinn and Anderson on the roster.

‘‘I have been happy with the progress that both guys made,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m happy with the way they’ve worked. I’m happy with the way they approached this competition, and it’s not always easy to approach a competition in a team fashion, and I respect the way they’ve handled it.’’

Wide receiver Joshua Cribbs said he’s looking forward to Mangini’s secret being revealed.

‘‘Both of them are great quarterbacks,’’ he said. ‘‘You can look at through our preseason and see the success that both of them had. There’s a lot of room for both of them to get better. Yeah, I’m interested and whoever the coach chooses we’re behind him 100 percent.’’

Quinn and Anderson are expected to speak with reporters on Wednesday, when they’ll face a barrage of questions. As much as he’d like to control everything, Mangini understands there’s only so much he can do.

‘‘I know how we’re going to approach it and I know that the team should be focused on Minnesota,’’ he said, ‘‘and should be focused on doing everything that we can do to maintain any competitive advantages.’’