Backup QB Brady Quinn is the most popular man in Kansas City.
Well, that may be stretching it. Jamaal Charles likely has a pretty strong claim to that title but you get my meaning.
With Matt Cassel possibly on the shelf with a concussion, Quinn will could see his first start since his days in Cleveland.
By now you should have a pretty good idea of how Quinn’s NFL career has gone. The Cleveland Browns traded up to draft the former Notre Dame QB, one spot ahead of the Chiefs. At the time, it was believed the Chiefs would draft Quinn if he fell to them.
One could argue that Quinn never really had a chance in the NFL. The Browns team to which he was drafted was absolutely terrible. The team seemed as though they wanted to bring Quinn along slowly, initially placing him third on the depth chart behind Charlie Fry and Derrick Anderson in 2007, Quinn’s rookie season. Fry was traded away after one disastrous game that year and thanks to a soft schedule, Derrick Anderson navigated the Browns to a 10-6 record. In Cleveland these days, going 10-6 is like winning the Super Bowl. Anderson held on to the starting job but disappointed the following season. Quinn replaced him but hardly played before seeing his season end with an injury. The Browns were a disaster and Romeo Crennel was fired and replaced with Eric Mangini. Quinn won the job but played poorly early. Mangini benched Quinn in favor of Anderson halfway through the third game of the season against the Baltimore Ravens. Anderson played terribly so Mangini named Quinn the starter again in Week 8. Keep in mind that before entering the 2009 season, Quinn had attempted only 97 passes in two years. He was also learning a new offensive system with a new head coach. All in all he played in ten games in 2009, finishing 136 for 256 for 1,339 yards and 8 TDs vs. 7 interceptions.
Before we go further, let’s take a look at some of the offensive personnel the Cleveland Browns had in 2009.
41 Charles Ali FB
28 James Davis
35 Jerome Harrison
33 Noah Herron
31 Jamal Lewis
47 Lawrence Vickers FB
16 Josh Cribbs
88 Mike Furrey
89 Paul Hubbard
9 Lance Leggett
11 Mohamed Massaquoi
2 Jordan Norwood
81 David Patten
80 Brian Robiskie
12 Syndric Steptoe
82 Steve Heiden
85 John Madsen
84 Robert Royal
86 Martin Rucker
87 Aaron Walker
No wonder Quinn’s career never took off. He had a terrible head coach in Mangini and he had absolutely no respectable offensive personnel around him, save center Alex Mack and LT Joe Thomas.
If only he could have gotten the ball to Syndric Steptoe a little more often, the Browns would probably have won the Super Bowl.
The only skill player on that list even worth raising an eyebrow over is Jamal Lewis. 2009 was his final year in the NFL. He played in only nine games and he averaged 3.5 yards per carry.
The Browns started 2009 1-7 and reportedly escorted first-year GM George Kokinis from the building, never to return.
Cleveland finished 5-11 that season.
Seriously, the Browns were an absolute circus back then. The idiots in charge couldn’t have grown a potato in a dark closet, let alone put a young QB in a position to succeed. Everything was terrible.
After the season, the Browns traded Quinn to the Denver Broncos for Peyton Hillis. You know how that went. Quinn was unable to unseat Kyle Orton but he was listed as the #2 QB ahead of Tim Tebow. But when the time came to pull Orton, Elway went with Tebow over Quinn. You know the rest.
Does all this mean that Quinn is a good QB? No. In fact, he almost certainly isn’t. But seriously. How would you ever know?
Brady Quinn has attempted only 356 passes in his entire NFL career. He’s been mismanaged, poorly coached and shuffled around as if he was the problem when in actuality, the men charged with developing him were total failures.
Still, the fact that John Elway made no attempt to start Quinn or keep him when his contract was up may be more damning of the QB’s ability than anything he’s ever done on the field.
Now, in his sixth NFL season, Brady Quinn could be seeing his last chance to make it as a starter in the NFL and in many ways, this situation is just like the one he stepped into as a youngster in Cleveland.
Crennel is the coach. The team is a mess. The fanbase is angry. There is a QB on the roster that is supposedly better than him, despite atrocious play.
One difference is that Quinn, if he does start Sunday, will have actual NFL-caliber players around him on both offense and defense. The 2012 Kansas City Chiefs stink but it isn’t for lack of talent. They have more of the look of a young team that is poorly coached and suffering from confidence issues than the 2009 Browns who were, essentially, a college team. D-2.
Nobody blames Matt Cassel for the disaster that is the 2012 season in Kansas City but he hasn’t helped either. Cassel is one of the oldest players on the roster and as the QB, he is supposed to be the leader. It is his job to set the tone for his teammates.
Cassel has failed.
While the hope may be there, I doubt many folks expect Brady Quinn to come in Sunday and play like a Pro Bowler. He may even turn out to be worse than Cassel, a frightening thought I know.
But what if Quinn doesn’t stink up the joint? What if he embraces his last NFL opportunity and helps jump-start a Chiefs team that is on life support just five games into the season?
The table is set for a turnaround in Kansas City. The Chiefs play the 1-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday before heading into their off week. After that, their schedule is not all that daunting.
KC’s remaining opponents have a combined record of 13-25.
It isn’t insane to suggest that this team can turn things around. The defense had its best game of the season on Sunday. Despite injuries to the offensive line, the Chiefs also showed they could run the football against a stout Ravens defense.
It comes down to three thing:
3. QB play
I believe this Chiefs team, playing well, protecting the football and with even average QB play, has a chance to win every single game remaining on their schedule. There is truly enough talent for them to pull it off.
It may just all come down to Quinn.
The Matt Cassel experiment failed. The Quinn experience, if there even is one, could turn out even worse. If it does, Chiefs fans will likely be rewarded for their misery with a possible franchise QB in next year’s draft and perhaps even a new head coach and GM.
But what if Quinn doesn’t fail? It would lead to arguably one of the most memorable seasons in franchise history.
Hop aboard the Brady Quinn bandwagon, Addicts. It’s the only ride in town.