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Mangini's QB decision sign of progress, potential source of discomfort

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Posted Nov. 10, 2010 @ 4:48 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

Each Wednesday, we'll highlight a Browns player, coach, executive, personnel group or other area of the team that is most under scrutiny. This week, we take a closer look at Browns head coach Eric Mangini.

There is no easy choice for this particular feature this week, and that is a good thing, for it means the Browns are playing well. If the Browns can keep the status quo and come close to replicating the performances they had against the Saints and Patriots in back-to-back games, they are going to continue to succeed.

Still, that doesn't mean that a potentially tough decision doesn't loom soon for head coach Eric Mangini. Veteran QB Seneca Wallace returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday, with rookie Colt McCoy getting most of the work. Jake Delhomme, who like Wallace has been sidelined with an ankle injury in Week Five, could return to practice soon, too.

Whom will be the Browns' starter in Week 10 — and beyond? McCoy probably has the lead for this week by getting most of the snaps Wednesday and with Wallace limited, though nothing is official as of yet. The answer beyond that, of course, is on everyone's mind.

"Once everyone is healthy, I think I'll sit down with (offensive coordinator) Brian (Daboll) and talk some to (president) Mike (Holmgren) and just see where we are," Mangini told Jets reporters Wednesday. "Once we figure out where we are and how we want to move forward with everybody healthy, that's when we'll make a decision that's a little bit longer term."

Mangini, speaking to Browns reporters Wednesday, said that he didn't think "there's a need to rush into any decision" on a long-term starter right now, what with Wallace and Delhomme still recovering. It's interesting: in the short term, McCoy's impressive development takes pressure off of Mangini, for the Browns are in capable hands at the position. In the long term, though, Mangini is faced with a decision whether to promote McCoy over two veteran passers who were expected to be the Browns' top two quarterbacks this season.

Until there is a clear resolution of this issue, Mangini will face questions about it. In some ways, he's in a good position. In others, he's in an uncomfortable one. Such are the problems of having a young player greatly exceed expectations.

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