Why Brady Quinn Matters
This was the word which popped into my head while Buffalo kicker Rian Lindell's game-winning field goal floated for what seemed like days only to sail wide right.
And the answer is stability. Stability in a position which hasn't been solid in Cleveland for a very long time.
Let's face it, how many great teams, today or throughout history, can be identified by who was under center? These squads became what they are (or were) because the quarterback stuck around. And with the most important position secured, GM's and owners could bring in the rest of the important pieces to create a competitive team.
And this is a major reason why the Browns have struggled for so long.
Ever since fan favorite Bernie Kosar was shipped to Dallas after his skills apparently "diminished," Cleveland has yet to find a franchise quarterback. In fact, since returning to the NFL in 1999, the number of quarterbacks the Browns have brought in just to send out is so high it might baffle Al Davis.
It seems like every time the Browns seem to find someone to run the offense, something goes wrong.
Whether it be lack of offensive weapons (Jeff Garcia), inconsistency (Kelly Holcomb, Derek Anderson), or an offensive line doing it's best impersonation of a wet paper bag (Tim Couch), something causes the Cleveland QB carousel to keep on turning.
There was Charlie Frye crumbling under the pass rush whenever his one and only target was covered. There was 2004, when the arrival of Jeff Garcia turned into seeing him, Holcomb, Luke McCown rotate back and forth through a dismal season. There was Spergon Wynn...doing nothing.
And then there was Derek Anderson, who knew how to bully weak teams but just couldn't be consistent enough against talented defenses.
So many quarterback changes are extremely detrimental to a team. Without a consistent signal caller, offenses just can't gel. No rhythms can be created if the same players see different people telling them the play. And when you don't have the same guy running the plays for multiple seasons, your offense can never develop.
This is where Brady Quinn comes in.
No, last night wasn't a "star-crowning" moment for Quinn. However, he still had many things going for him.
His poise continues to show, especially in clutch situations, and he knows how to react to pocket pressure. He didn't light up the scoreboard, but he made the plays he had to in order to win the game, despite being blitzed for most of the night. He saw an entirely different defensive scheme and made the proper adjustments needed to win the game.
More importantly, he kept going to Braylon Edwards.
Edwards dropped the first pass thrown to him, which is the broken record of the season. However, instead of it resulting in Edwards being slowly cut out of the playbook, Quinn continued to throw to him. This led to one of his better games this season and showed how Quinn's play isn't as reliant on receivers as past QB's have been.
Quinn spreads the ball across the field, and when many questioned his ability to handle the short routes being eliminated, he proved he can target downfield as well.
And this is why Brady Quinn matters.
In two games, he's already looking better than any of Cleveland's past God-knows-how-many quarterbacks did when they debuted. This brings along the aforementioned hope of stability.
For the past decade, it seemed like Cleveland is getting their quarterbacks at Sam's Club or anywhere else you can buy in bulk. Yet now, there's hope that maybe, just maybe, we've found a quarterback who will stick around long enough for fans to actually get to know him.
Browns fans may start reminding themselves of Bernie and the Boys from the late 1980's. And breaking it down, his path to Cleveland is frighteningly similar to Quinn's.
Kosar was brought up near Youngstown, Ohio and went on to make the University of Miami relevant again in college football. Quinn grew up in Dublin, Ohio and eventually broke many passing records at the University of Notre Dame.
Kosar shocked many by claiming he wanted to come home and quarterback the lowly Cleveland Browns. Brady made the same claim a couple decades later with the team in even worse shape.
The Browns brought in Kosar by manipulating the long-since extinct supplemental draft. Quinn unexpectedly fell a few spots in the draft, only to see Cleveland swoop in, make a trade with Dallas, and grab the quarterback just hours after drafting a franchise lineman to protect him.
Both QB's were the talk of the town before they ever took a regular season snap. And while we all know what happened after Kosar replaced an injured Gary Danielson, we now wait to see what lies on Quinn's path as Cleveland quarterback.
Fans need a quarterback they can get to know. General managers need a field general they can build a team around and offenses need a leader who stays around long enough to build chemistry with.
They say the quarterback is the face of the team. If this is true, the Browns have been faceless ever since No. 19 was traded away.
So now, with Quinn, we give it another shot. Here's hoping we can end the ride and not be forced to start creating a backstory to "The Curse of Bernie Kosar."
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