Don’t get too excited about the first preseason game

Eric Mangini should be pissed off. He’s the coach and it’s his job to hammer his team when they don’t play well. The Browns made plenty of mistakes against the Packers, and Mangini will have plenty of work to do.

That said, everyone else will overreact to this first preseason game. The talk radio guys will do their thing, and the angry callers will chime in as well. All of this means nothing.

There are only several important things to take from this for Browns fans. First, you don’t build a team overnight, so early mistakes are to be expected. The key is whether Mangini helps the team learn from their mistakes. Given his past history on team penalties, we can expect the Browns to make progress here.

More importantly, however, is the quarterback situation. Most of us think Brady Quinn will win the starting job, so we should get too worked up watching Derek Anderson repeat mistakes we’ve grown accustomed to over the past several years. Ratliff’s performance is even less relevant.

But Quinn’s performance is important, and he moved the team on both of his two drives. He was comfortable in the pocket and he made solid decisions. He should have had a field goal on the first drive, and he would have had a touchdown before the half running the two-minute offense if stone hands Edwards hadn’t dropped a perfectly thrown ball from Quinn. On the next play Brady made a bad throw and threw a stupid interception, but that play never should have happened.

The kid can play. None of us knows how good he can be, but Browns fans should feel good about the fact that they have a young quarterback with talent who has two years of learning under his belt. Quinn should be ready, and the quarterback competition is probably a good thing. By the time this is over there should be little doubt that Quinn earned his job, and that will make it easier for him to grow into the job without looking over his shoulder.

So, don’t get too riled up about this first game.

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