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Hayden Goethe, Published September 09 2009

Goethe column: Withholding depth chart status is bush league

The Cleveland Browns aren’t announcing their starting quarterback for Sunday’s season opener against the Minnesota Vikings until just prior to game time.

The Vikings have followed that by saying they don’t know whether Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels will serve as their No. 2 quarterback.

And in both situations, the quarterbacks involved don’t know where they stand.

In the interest of full disclosure, what is the point of all this?

I mean, yeah, I get the point. Both teams feel it’s at their advantage to not let the opponent know too much when formulating a game plan. But seriously, this is the National Football League, not a bush league.

Whether or not it’s advantageous for teams to keep this information close to the vest shouldn’t matter.

My opinion is any advantage that the Browns have by not allowing the Vikings to prepare to face a particular quarterback is lost when neither Derek Anderson nor Brady Quinn can spend the week preparing to be the starter.

Of course, the old sports cliché is the backup quarterback should prepare each week like he’s going to start. But these guys, to steal a line from Minnesota Twins closer Joe Nathan, aren’t machines.

It affects them no differently than inter-office turmoil affects anyone else at their jobs.

The Vikings’ response is equally outrageous. It’s unclear to me whether or not Vikings head coach Brad Childress knows who will back up Brett Favre on Sunday. But we’re talking about a backup here.

Am I really supposed to believe that after mini-camps and training camp and four preseason games, that Childress doesn’t know if he prefers Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels?

The decision to not disclose starters or backups at certain positions reeks of an amateur stench. It would be one thing if this was an indoor football league, but the NFL should be above this.

Readers can reach Forum Assistant Sports Editor

Hayden Goethe at (701) 241-5558

or hgoethe@forumcomm.com