The most critical question for Mike Holmgren in his first offseason as team president for the Cleveland Browns will be who emerges as the team’s choice at quarterback. At the very least, there are some options — but will it be Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson, a veteran obtained in a trade, or a player chosen with the team’s No. 7 pick in the draft?
Holmgren has been open with his initial thoughts on the team’s quarterbacks and told The Repository Thursday that coach Eric Mangini has asked him to be heavily involved in the quarterback decision.
“Eric and I have a great relationship, but I’m not going to be on the field coaching the guy,” said Holmgren, a longtime quarterback guru who has developed Hall of Famer Steve Young along with Brett Favre. “As far as observations and as far as advice, suggestions, whatever, this group (coaches and personnel men) has been very, very open.”
A few of Holmgren’s philosophies have already emerged. He believes it takes two full seasons — around 32 starts — before a quarterback can be fairly defined. Quinn, who Holmgren admits he’s only met once, has 12 career starts in three seasons. It’s also clear that Anderson, who finished last season as the starter, is still in the mix.
Holmgren is also not a believer in training camp quarterback competitions. He wouldn’t declare late last month that both Quinn and Anderson will be around when camp starts, but said the team “better make up our mind before we go to camp.”
With limited options at quarterback in free agency and Homlgren’s preference to build through the draft, acquiring a veteran isn’t a likely fit in the rebuilding project. As NFL.com senior analyst Pat Kirwan pointed out in a recent live chat, this decision will be heavily influenced by Holmgren and new GM Tom Heckert.
The answer, however painful it is for impatient Browns fans, is still very much to be determined.