It has recently been reported that Brady Quinn is rumoured to be on the trading block, and is currently being shopped around the league by Mike Holmgren and the Browns staff. Now this doesn’t surprise me, there are always plenty of rumours circulating around the league, and the Browns are no different. However, I’d like to think the organisation has a little bit more faith in Quinn than some of the media, and I’d also argue that Quinn should be given another shot at being the starting QB this year.
I can understand that Holmgren and Heckert may be sceptical (and it’s common knowledge Mangini has never been Quinn’s biggest fan). They’ve come into Cleveland with fresh ideas and a general plan in their minds for how they want this team to look and perform, and have unfortunately inherited the broken pieces of the Crennel and Savage era. Quinn was Savage’s choice, not Holmgren’s, so I can see why the president may be considering a total overhaul of the team beginning with the dismissal of Quinn from Cleveland. There are obviously other options at QB for the Browns to consider, and Holmgren has been busy exploring every possible avenue there is. From trying to hi-jack either McNabb or Kolb from the Eagles, to bringing in Jake Delhomme for “a chat”, Holmgren is looking far and wide for a new QB, and there’s no doubt the Browns will be looking at a few draft prospects as well. From all this activity, it’s become glaringly apparent that Quinn’s position with the Browns is in jeopardy, and his future in Cleveland is under threat.
My support for Quinn to remain with the Browns, and ultimately be given another chance to see if he has what it takes to lead them to glory, stems from a sense of loyalty and commitment that I think the NFL is lacking at times. I understand that the modern world of sport is big business and decisions are always made in light of what is good for the organisation involved. I simply feel that Quinn’s hard work should be rewarded to a certain extent, that he be given another chance and not be written off just yet. After all, what exactly has he done wrong? His rookie year was spent on the sidelines with a clipboard watching Derek Anderson emerge into a Pro-Bowler (albeit for one season). After Anderson’s spectacular collapse in 2008, Quinn was finally given the opportunity to start but an injury to his finger limited him to just 3 games. After Mangini's quarterback competition that wasn’t very competitive, Quinn was named the starter for 2009 against the Vikings. Criticism soon built up that Quinn was too conservative with his decision making, that his arm strength crippled his ability to be a successful NFL quarterback, plus much more. Mangini eventually benched him in Baltimore after a poor offensive performance from the entire offense, even though Quinn had completed 75% of his passes (and 1 stupid interception which probably cost him his job from then on). He eventually returned to starting under centre in Week 11 and had a career high performance, showing signs of what he could do as he burned the Detroit defence for 304 yards and 4 TDs. He played well against San Diego two weeks later (271 yards for 3 TDs), and led the Browns (with rather pedestrian performances) to 2 wins over Pittsburgh and Kansas City. He was then ruled out for the last two games of the season with a foot injury, but had shown briefly that he could at least play with some success in the NFL, and more importantly for the Browns.
The fact that we have yet to see Brady Quinn perform over an entire season is the major factor in the case for Quinn to remain in Cleveland. Coaching decisions, media pressures and injuries have all halted his progress from Notre Dame phenom to legitimate NFL starter. Now that Holmgren has full control of the Browns, he has already begun his own rebuilding process with the signings of Ben Watson, Scott Fujita and Tony Pashos. With the mountain of draft picks available to us, no doubt the team can only get stronger. The key to Quinn’s success is obviously giving him some decent targets to throw to. Watson is primarily a pass catching TE so that can only benefit Quinn there. Through this year’s draft the receiving core can be built upon, whereas last season it was only Massaquoi who emerged as a real target. It’s common knowledge the receivers in Cleveland suffered from “the dropsies” in 2009, which doesn’t help any quarterback whatever team they’re on, let alone the Browns. Strengthening the receiving core will benefit Quinn enormously, and naturally the Browns will be the better for it.
Quinn was drafted in 2007 with the idea he would become our franchise QB, something Cleveland have lacked ever since expansion in 1999. Franchise QBs take time to develop; this is not a new revelation. Most athletes go through difficult times in their careers, especially NFL quarterbacks, and Quinn has had his share of bad times but there is still hope. Holmgren shouldn’t give up on the Ohio native, and neither should the fans. It’s only fair the Browns don’t write Quinn off just yet.
Thanks for reading.