Browns Coach Decides On Starter

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 8, 2009 – 4:07 pm

Cleveland Browns Head Coach Eric Mangini has made a decision on who his starting QB will be for Sunday’s season opener. But, according to Zac Jackson of, Mangini will not publicly announce the decision.

Although he won’t share his decision with the rest of us, Mangini did say he will share his decision with Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn in separate meetings.

“I understand the excitement, but it will be something that will be internal,” Mangini said. “Being on the other side of this as defensive coordinator, I know the problems that not knowing who the starting quarterback will be can cause.”

Mangini’s position is understandable, to some degree, but there’s a good chance word will eventually emerge about who will start on Sunday. Regardless of who is under center, Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said the Vikings preparation won’t change.

“It doesn’t,” Childress responded earlier this week when asked how the unsettled QB battle affects his team’s preparation. “You’re just, schematically, you’re going to look at what you’ve seen, you’re going to go back and look at Jets (Mangini’s former team) tape and see what you’ve seen.

“I know, as do our guys, there will be unscouted looks. They certainly haven’t shown their whole hand offensively or defensively (in the preseason). But you’re just going back and looking formation-wise where they’re putting people and what kind of players they are.”

For what it’s worth, I expect Quinn will be the guy who starts on Sunday against the Vikings. In 3 games as the Browns starter to conclude the 2008 season, Quinn went 45 of 89 for 518 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs.

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Sign of the Times – Player Evolution and Player Safety

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 8, 2009 – 9:06 am

A great weekend of college football was capped off Monday night by the football game of the year so far – the University of Miami came from behind to beat Florida State on the road 38-34. There’s no question we are all excited for the start of the NFL season, but this past weekend’s exciting action – and espeically last night’s game – only added to the anxiety of it all.

The aspect of college football that stands out to me is how big, fast and strong the athletes continue to be. And it’s not big, strong OR fast. It’s big, strong AND fast. Most of the players today possess all 3 traits.

This isn’t anything new – there have always been premier athletes in college football. But I continue to be amazed at how many of them there are…there seems to be more and more of them on the field. Instead of there being a handful of these standout athletes in each game, there are now upwards of 15 or 20 in each game.

So this leads me to think of something else beyond just the game being played and who wins and loses. With the speed of the game increasing, and with the size and strength of the athletes increasing, player safety continues to be an issue at the forefront of the sport.

Players on the field are moving faster than ever, but they are also colliding harder than ever. And that’s why many of the NFL’s rule changes over the past several years have been with player safety in mind. There are now rules that extend protection to defenseless receivers. The NFL has outlawed the 3-man wedge of kickoff returns. QBs are protected more and more.

Carson Palmer’s comments to Peter King in the writer’s recent MMQB column really hammer this point home. Check them out if you didn’t see them.

I know a lot of times the players, especially defensive players, get frustrated with some of the new or amended rules that at the surface seem to favor the offense. But I believe that these rules are not a function of favoring offense; the purpose of the rules is to protect the players.

Watching the sport recently, at both the collegiate level and the pro level, really makes one realize how important player safety is going to be as we move forward in the sport and as the sport’s athletes continue to get bigger, stronger AND faster.

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Preparations For Sunday’s Opener Continue at Winter Park

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 8, 2009 – 7:47 am

After what Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress termed a “tune up” workout on Monday that served as an advance scouting report of the Cleveland Browns, Vikings players have the day off today. The Vikings coaching staff, however, will be in the building continuing to game plan for Sunday’s regular season opener against the Browns.

Players will return to Winter Park on Wednesday to get to work on their preparation for Sunday’s game. Based on Childress’ comments about how his team has progressed since training camp, there’s reason to believe the Vikings will be sharp this week as they prepare to begin the season.

“I think they have been resolute in terms of their preparation and their determination,” Childress said of his squad. “It’s real easy to say that training camp is a pox. It’s a blight that you don’t want to play the preseason. But you still have to go about your business of preparing yourself to get in football shape and hitting shape. I think they have embraced it all the way along.

“There are a lot of things that are not tasteful about training camp, but these guys have fun with it every day. It’s a great group to come in here and coach everyday because they work. So I’ve just seen that natural evolution through the process where I didn’t have to get a whip and a chair to get them to go. They are always ready to go.”

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