Still no winner as Browns QB battle wages on

BEREA, Ohio – From flipping a coin to filling in blanks. Cleveland’s starting quarterback drama has turned again.

During his post-practice news briefing yesterday, Browns coach Romeo Crennel said he may delay naming a starter until the week before his club’s Sept. 9 season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

He has narrowed his choice to two candidates: Charlie Frye and a mystery man.

“It’s Charlie … and Yes,” teased Crennel, who has Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn and Ken Dorsey to choose from.

“Who’s the other one?” he was asked.

“Who do you want it to be?” Crennel said with a laugh.

“Brady,” a reporter said.

“If you want it to be that, then it can be that for you,” Crennel said.

Who knows. It could be that for the Browns soon, too.

Crennel’s vague reply came one day after he named Frye as his starter for Saturday’s game at Denver, the club’s third exhibition game and another chance for any of Cleveland’s QBs to step up and prove he’s worthy of being a No. 1.

So far, Frye and Anderson have failed to impress their coaches or Browns fans, who are clamoring to see more of Quinn.

The rookie from Notre Dame threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes against Detroit in his NFL debut on Saturday night. Quinn went 13-of-20 for 155 yards and played with poise and confidence, something neither Frye nor Anderson has shown much of during the past two weeks of their ongoing derby.

Crennel said Quinn will get more playing time against the Broncos, but wouldn’t specify when or how much. But another strong showing could move Quinn past Anderson on the depth chart – if he hasn’t passed him already.

Quinn played down his debut, which came against a Lions defense of third and fourth stringers.

“I don’t want to make it more than what it was,” he said. “I was just a guy out there trying to help his team come back and win. That is really what it was.”

But it could be much more if Frye doesn’t play better this week and if Quinn, who missed 11 days of training camp in a contract holdout, continues to progress.

Crennel, who resorted to a coin toss to decide whether Frye or Anderson would start the exhibition opener, was asked what conclusions could be made from not yet naming a Week 1 starter.

“Well, it changes and it can change,” he said. “With this competition that we’ve had – which has been a good competition – with Frye being the starter for this game, our first opponent might have to wonder who the quarterback is going to be. They might have to prepare for two guys, which could be an advantage for us.”

Quinn has quickly gained ground on Frye and Anderson. Frye has a 69.4 rating, Anderson’s is 54.3 and neither of the QBs has led the Browns to a touchdown while Quinn is 2-for-2 on scoring drives.

And while Quinn hasn’t had a chance to show if he can make all the throws, he certainly has the other quarterbacking duties down pat. Yesterday, Quinn deflected praise about his leadership on the two TD drives to his teammates.

“They did a great job of focusing,” he said. “I think they knew what they had in front of them. If anything, I just tried to communicate the best I could and tried to be the general out there.”

As for who will lead the Browns against the Steelers, Quinn doesn’t think his holdout has hurt his chances of starting.

“I would never say never,” he said. “I think it is still somewhat of a competition. Even though the starter has been announced for this game, I think guys are still competing, still trying to show what they can do.

“The roster hasn’t been set and this isn’t week one yet for the NFL. We have two weeks left of hard work in our camp and we’ll see where things go from there.”