We Can't Work It Out: Why The Cleveland Browns Should Trade QB Brady Quinn

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We Can't Work It Out: Why The Cleveland Browns Should Trade QB Brady Quinn
(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
It's not even a month into the season and I'm already fed up.
I don't claim to be a rabid Browns fan—I'm more of a college football guy, but out of all the NFL teams, Cleveland is my favorite.
Now I have to ask: What the heck is going on with the Cleveland Browns and what have they done to Brady Quinn?
Before Eric Mangini came to Cleveland I didn't know too much about him except that a lot of Jets fans did not like him and many Cleveland fans were divided over his hiring.
When Mangini came to the Browns, I expected him to trade either Derek Anderson or Quinn. When this did not happen, I put up with it and looked forward to the impending quarterback competition that would unfold knowing Quinn would prove himself once given the opportunity.
Then, for the entirety of training camp and preseason ball, Mangini didn't make up his mind as to who the starter will be. Alarm bells started going off and this was the mistake that, as a lukewarm Browns supporter, put me over the edge.
You can talk about having an "advantage" by forcing opposing teams to prepare for two quarterbacks and relish the fact that you have two solid quarterbacks to choose from, but this approach does not work.
It especially doesn't work with a team searching for an identity behind a rookie coach.
The Lions handed the keys to Stafford. The Falcons did the same with Ryan, as did the Ravens with Flacco, and the Jets with Sanchez. All of these teams are on the rise because they had the guts to make a pick and stick with it.
Now with a whole other pile of garbage and negative media coming out about Eric ManginiI am clearly not a fan of this coach anymore.
Back to Brady Quinn, if I may. I am really rooting for this guy to succeed in the NFL and I never thought his career would come to this point. It's almost laughable what kind of situation he's walked into since being drafted by the Browns.
The only situation resembling Quinn's is perhaps Matt Leinart's in Arizona. I was never on the Leinart bandwagon and I would certainly be upset about his current situation if I was a fan of his.
But at least the Cardinals gave him over 20 games experience and brought in a proven quarterback to lead the team and from which Leinart could learn. It may be a bitter pill to swallow for Leinart, but at some point you would think he is going to get a chance to start again and will be much improved because of his time behind Warner.
The same cannot be said for Quinn and the Browns.
When Cleveland made a move with Dallas to pick up Quinn I was elated. I had thought that my favorite college player could go to my favorite pro team, but I didn't think it would actually happen, especially after the Browns took Joe Thomas with their first pick.
Now, the local boy had come home to play for his favorite team and everything was going to be awesome. However, it didn't take long for things to sour. 
Almost immediately there were rumors out of the Browns camp that Quinn would be brought along slowly, possibly not even start or play his rookie season. I thought Quinn was pretty NFL ready coming into his senior season at Notre Dame, but this didn't really bother me because I expected him to progress slowly in the NFL anyway.
This was mistake number one.
 Not shortly after this, Quinn did not report to camp because of a contract dispute. I can't really blame anyone for this except Quinn and his agent, but we have to remember this still is a business. As it was, did it really matter that Quinn ultimately showed up a few days late to camp? Was he going to get a fair shot at the job anyway?
This was mistake number two.
And knowing what we know now, let's just get it out of the way and despite my initial giddiness, lament the fact that Quinn was drafted by the Cleveland Browns.
This was mistake number three.
Then during the 2007 season, the Browns miraculously play out of their minds led by a strong, but inconsistent year by Derek Anderson. Cleveland reeled off 10 wins and just barely missed out on the playoffs.
This wasn't so much a mistake, as it was a stroke of bad luck for Quinn.
During the off-season, there was plenty of debate about what to do with the quarterbacks in Cleveland. The consensus seemed to be to trade one of them and move on. The Browns instead inked Anderson to a sizable contract extension while knowingly keeping Quinn as the backup.
This was mistake number four.
The 2008 season began and it didn't take long for things to go badly. Anderson looked super shaky and by mid-season Quinn was given his first start against Denver.
 
Finally!
 
And boy did his first start look impressive. This is what I've been waiting for, I thought to myself. Quinn looked nothing like a rookie, just like I knew he wouldn't, and he played outstanding despite the team's loss.
 
The next week Quinn and the Browns came to my hometown to take on the Bills. Once again, Quinn came out looking polished. Then, late in the second quarter a replay was shown of Quinn hitting a Bills' helmet on his follow through with his hand.
 
That's not good, I thought. From that point on, until his benching the next game, Quinn seemed slightly less effective and we later found out he had broken his index finger.
 
Stroke of bad luck number two.
 
Which leads us to the beginning of this season and all of the nonsense that has accompanied the Browns thus far. It's beginning to look like Mangini's hiring was mistake number five for Quinn, and Mangini's handling of the quarterback situation during the preseason mistake number six. The actual coaching in the games thus far could be considered mistake number seven as well.
 
Today, something isn't right with Quinn and I'm almost positive it has to do with the coaching in Cleveland. It's been nearly three years, but the Browns have taken one of the most talented quarterbacks in college history and done almost everything in their power to make sure he cannot succeed.
 
I'm not going to sit here and tell you that Quinn is the next superstar in waiting either. He's not a genuine pure passer and he struggles when not in a rhythm. His arm strength is good, but he won't make those pin hole passes guys like Favre and Cutler can make.
 
And although he is capable of throwing the deep ball, he has struggled with his accuracy at times down field, especially with receivers he doesn't have chemistry or rhythm with (see above). And lastly, he has been trained by Charlie Weis in college to play it smart and he is more willing to hit the safe short pass that's wide open than the deeper pass that is kind of open.
 
None of these criticisms mean that Quinn won't be a good quarterback though. A lot of these things Quinn can work on and all he needs is the playing time to do so. But there is a ton of upside with him as well and he has many qualities one would look for in a franchise quarterback. 
 
Quinn showed in those brief moments against Denver and Buffalo what kind of potential he has in this league, and now I can't wrap my head around what is going on.
 
Quinn has amazing footwork but he's been given shotgun plays that stifle the running game and don't allow any play action passes. Why? If you're afraid of giving up sacks at least let Quinn play under center and give the running game a chance to succeed and allow some rhythm to develop on play action and bootlegs.
 
At this point, I am 100 percent in favor of the Browns trading Quinn. At first I was against it because I wanted to see him succeed for his hometown team and a trade would kind of be a knock against him and a step back in terms of confidence.
 
Now I just don't care. What Quinn needs more than anything is a fresh start somewhere. Someplace that is willing to give him a fair shot and not a bunch of BS and 6 starts over a three year span.
 
I kept telling everyone this off-season that keeping Quinn and Anderson was nothing but trouble. And what do the Browns do now? To tell the truth I'm not even sure I want Quinn starting anymore because:
 
A.) The Browns have the least amount of offensive talent in the NFL
B.) The head coach seems incompetent and foolish
C.) The offensive call-playing is a joke
D.) Even the most dedicated Browns fans are going to get restless unless Quinn plays significantly better
 
Point D is all the more true especially with the likes of Ryan, Flacco, and Sanchez coming into the league with instant success.
 
But that's another thing I kept telling everyone: don't expect miracles from Quinn. You can't expect him to suddenly take this team to the next level. These other young quarterbacks were placed in perfect situations for signal callers: teams with strong running games and tough defenses. Quinn has none of that to work with.
 
As a Browns fan and Quinn supporter, I just don't know where to go from here. I can't think of a situation for a first round quarterback that was been this convoluted and filled with such ineptness from a team perspective and bad luck from a players perspective.
 
From day one Quinn had been mishandled at nearly every turn by the Cleveland coaching staff. It may be time to cut ties and trade him to another franchise. I know I am perfectly at peace with that outcome.
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