There is a growing debate on whether this past weekend’s game against the San Diego Chargers was a turning point of sorts for quarterback Brady Quinn. One side saw a quarterback that looked like he actually knew what he was doing on the field; the other side saw a quarterback who had one solid drive and then padded his stats in the fourth quarter. It would come as little surprise that head coach Eric Mangini locates himself somewhere in the middle of the pack, liking Quinn’s progress, but undoubtedly feels that the quarterback still has a ton of maturation ahead of him.
Quinn undoubtedly had a better statitsical game than most of his other nine starts, but Mangini was quick to say that it was not a one-man show.
“I think it’s collective, really when you look at it,” said Mangini. “I thought the protection yesterday against San Diego was, for the most part, outstanding. Very few times was he pressured. I thought those guys held up well and not just the offensive line, but the tight ends that were involved, the backs that were involved. I think there were some really good throws, but also some really good catches.”
It is hard to argue with this assessment. With all of the dropped passes and pass-rushers that have come mostly from the right side, it is amazing how different a quarterback looks when he actually has time to throw the ball to receivers who actually make catches.
“We’ve come in here enough times talking about balls that were dropped that were easily catchable balls,” claimed the head coach. “I thought yesterday there were some balls that were caught that were really difficult catches, and that helps, too.” Mangini continued with, “I think [Brady Quinn's] awareness of what the defense is giving us and if it’s not there, not trying to make something happen just because you feel the pressure to make something happen, but going to the check-down or going to the underneath receiver. I think he’s made good decisions there.”
“I’ve been happy with [Quinn's] overall decision making. There were a couple plays yesterday where I would have liked him to get rid of the ball sooner, whether it was the strip that we had in the red zone, or the sack that we had there on second-and-one,” said Mangini. “I thought we played much better in the first and fourth quarter than we did in the second and third quarter. I think, defensively, we could have helped by not, obviously, allowing them to hold the ball as long and provide some more opportunities there.” And then, the “C” word… ”Consistency, to me, is the goal across the board, because as we’ve talked about, one really good kickoff return, one really average kickoff return, one really good defensive series, one really bad defensive series. It’s not an easy skill to learn and it takes a lot of discipline.”
But what if Quinn had started the entire season, allowing for more chance at obtaining said consistency? Mangini answered with the following:
“I think that, offensively, we’ve made improvements, collectively. I’d like to think that regardless of who was at quarterback, we’d be performing better. The things I was happy with both guys, there are things I was unhappy with across the unit.”
Annnnd, queue vague answer. Obviously, Mangini will never say the true reason behind pulling Quinn and leaving Derek Anderson in under center where he would continue to flounder each week that followed the Cincinnati overtime contest.
Regardless of the underlying factors, it appears that – barring injury – Brady Quinn will be manning this ship full of JV-like talent for the remainder of the 2009 season. Former Browns plug-in quarterback Bruce Gradkowski had a successful day against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, so expectations have been set for the Browns. Unfortunately, there are a few top-tier talents on the Oakland roster; something that will not be found anywhere on the Browns in terms of skill positions.
After this week, Quinn will face Kansas City, Oakland and Jacksonville – perhaps the easiest three-game stretch that the Browns will have faced for the entire season. Fans can count on the words “progress, growth and consistency” being tossed about after each game for the next month. For Brady Quinn’s sake, let’s hope that all three are looked at in a positive light.
(Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)