Browns' quarterback competition is front and center at camp

BEREA, Ohio -- It's hard to come to Cleveland Browns camp and not focus on the quarterback battle between veteran Derek Anderson and youngster Brady Quinn.

At this point, it seems like Quinn hasn't even been given enough of a sample size to form an opinion on him, and I'd be inclined to give the first-round pick the shot barring a woeful preseason.

Coach Eric Mangini is keeping it an open competition, and Wednesday in the morning practice both quarterbacks rotated with various sets of receivers. Quinn looked sharper, overall, making lots of plays around the goal line in drills, both seven-on-seven and 11-on-11. His athletic prowess makes him more effective when the field gets short as he's able to pop around outside the pocket and do things with the ball in hand when plays break down. However, Brady's lack size (6-foot-3) compared to Anderson (6-6) could be a factor too, especially in critical situations.

After spending some time with Quinn and Anderson, both players seem to be handling the situation well. They live near each other. They eat dinner and hang out from time to time. Anderson intimated that Quinn is ducking him on the golf course, and Quinn said he hasn't had time to work on his golf game, since he's been spending so much time at the practice facility here.

They gave Anderson a lot of money, but, again, I'd be inclined to go with the former first-round pick if this competition is close.

Training camp blog

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Surprise, surprise

Braylon Edwards' absence from the first four days of camp with an undisclosed ailment was a big story, so it was definitely surprising to pull into the facility here, walk to the field and see him coming right at me catching a ball in the back of the end zone during individual drills. Edwards returned to practice and looked great, making a rising catch again in the end zone later in practice. He said he had already passed his physical and passed a running test Tuesday, his last hurdle to getting back on the field. The nature of the injury remains unspoken, with Edwards referring to it as "whatever that was."

Observation deck

» When Shaun Rogers walks around the sidelines, he really walks. The big man, a human wall of a defensive tackle, does things deliberately. He's a playmaker for sure, though, stuffing the run at the goal line several times during drills.

» Linebacker D'Qwell Jackson was very active Wednesday morning. He's been standing out at camp according to some around here, and adopting well to Mangini's style of play.

» Veteran receiver David Patten is earning accolades for helping others learn this offense and for his leadership skills. Patten is someone people gravitate to, and Quinn mentioned him several times as a key player among the many additions.

Rookie report

Receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, one of two receivers the team selected in the second round, looks like he is playing with more speed as he beings to adjust to the pro game. The quarterbacks noted he is starting to read defenses now. Massaquoi and fellow draft pick Brian Robiskie may have to help out sooner or later with Kellen Winslow no longer here and Donte' Stallworth indefinitely suspended.

Lasting image

Well, in this case it's more of a lasting sound than image. This is no quiet camp. Mangini blasted music -- almost entirely hip-hop, Wednesday -- during 11-on-11 drills to simulate the noise that comes with game day. And, when that isn't going, chances are there's a train going by behind the facility, howling away. I loved it (my son is in a hardcore "Thomas The Train" phase right now, which may explain my predilection to the railroad these days). The facility is gorgeous, the field was pristine and the weather was stellar, with temperatures around 80 degrees with a nice breeze and not a bit of humidity.

Say what?

"When they walked in, silence came over the room." -- Mangini on Hall of Famers Jim Brown and Paul Warfield, who addressed his team Tuesday night.

Extra points

» Left tackle Joe Thomas took some criticism for his play in 2008, after an outstanding rookie season, but said he feels like he made major strides last year and continued to improve.

» Got the chills watching Jim Brown sit behind one end zone, cane off to the side, after practice. Can't think of too many people with that sheer presence.

» Mangini was enthused with the spirit exhibited by the offense and defense during goal-line drills (third straight day of my mini tour of camps during which these drills were a highlight).

» Mangini knows Patten from their days together in New England, and raved about the veteran and told Massaquoi to mimic Patten in pretty much everything he does from running routes to how he carries himself off field. Massaquoi told his coach he's "even trying to get the same cup of coffee," as Patten.

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