I have a strange feeling that Cleveland coach Eric Mangini is a huge fan of the movie “Usual Suspects” (I am, by the way; a top-fiver). You know the bad guy is the cunning Keyser Söze but you don’t know who the bad guy actually is until the final moment.
Maybe that’s why he’s leaving the public and — in his hopes — season-opening foe Minnesota hanging in terms of naming his starting quarterback. Will it be Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson? (Neither, by the way, has shown to be as smooth, wicked or brilliant as Keyser Söze). The quarterbacks, other players and coaches might already know who the starter is but the mute button has been activated.
The thing about this whole process is that the unveiling of the starter won’t be coming at the end of the movie, it will happen at the beginning of the season. And, it’s not like one quarterback is vastly different from the other, like Kerry Collins and Vince Young. They are similar in what they do and, judging by their play in preseason, they are similar in what they don’t do.
It’s highly unlikely that Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier is designing two different defenses to stop Quinn and Anderson. Think Jared Allen cares who starts? It would seem the Browns are probably more concerned about facing one of the best defenses in the NFL than Minnesota is about facing Anderson or Quinn.
The shroud of secrecy over the Browns’ starting quarterback is a fun little game — or stealth maneuvering by Mangini — that kind of goes against the throwback image Mangini emanates. Whatever happened to these are my 11, those are your 11, let’s get it on?
Guess that’s a secret.
When we find out who is the Browns go with, it will be news for a few hours or maybe even a day. However, that excitement will fade and that player must show that he’s earned the right to play the position in the NFL. Mangini’s secrecy will become little more than a joke in the press box and with fans (except for those of us who have Quinn or Anderson in our fantasy league and are dying to know who to activate).
While we wait, I suggest renting “Usual Suspects” and watching it a few times. You’ll still never be able to figure out what’s true and what’s not.