BEREA — Browns coach Eric Mangini was given multiple chances to name Jake Delhomme his starting quarterback as minicamp concuded Saturday, but declined. Mangini praised Delhomme’s work with the first team, but said he wanted to continue his evaluation of Delhomme and Seneca Wallace in training camp.
“I just want to see a little bit more before we do that,” Mangini said of naming a starter.
Mangini’s hesitation will surely get a lot of play in the media, and he can use all the semantics that he wants, but Delhomme is the starting quarterback.
Through nine practices open to the media in the last month, he’s taken the bulk of snaps with the first-team offense. After just three months with the team, he’s already the offense’s leader. He has a history of success in the league, compared to Wallace’s sporadic highlights as a backup.
And the Browns are paying Delhomme $7 million in 2010.
It’s Mangini’s prerogative to answer the questions however he chooses. He may want to keep Wallace enticed by the thought of competing for the starting job. He may not believe in giving a newcomer the job before he’s seen him practice in pads. He may want to give himself an out in case Delhomme stinks it up in the preseason.
But the front office and the players view Delhomme as the starter, and there’s nothing wrong with lining up behind someone at the most important position on the team.
This town is infamous for its quarterback controversies, and Mangini may have contributed to the latest one. But no matter what’s said or written or blogged in the next seven weeks, Delhomme is the starting quarterback. And it will take an injury for that to change.