When it comes to playing guessing games, very few do it better than Eric Mangini. In his own strange way, the Browns coach seems to believe he can fool the opposition by waffling on who starts at quarterback for his beleaguered team. He did it last season with Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn when both men were healthy.
This season, he played the same game again with quarterbacks Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace after Delhomme went down with a bum ankle following the season-opening loss in Tampa Bay. Mangini suggested Delhomme might be ready for the Kansas City game even though the ankle was far from healed. Of course, Wallace started.
For some strange reason, Mangini believes he has a competitive edge if the opponent doesn't know for whom to prepare. It hasn't worked in the past, but he insists on falling back on that tactical move as if it has paid dividends. It hasn't come close.
Perhaps that's why he has changed his approach to announcing his starting quarterback for Sunday's invasion of the Cincinnati Bengals. He actually came right out and proclaimed that Delhomme, if healthy, will start under center. "He's our starter,"the coach said. "If he's ready to start, he'll start."
There. That wasn't so difficult.
No deception. No cloak-and-dagger stuff. Just downright honesty.
On second thought, does that really mean Wallace will start?
Hmmmm. Another Mangini swerve? Nah.