Ten quarters into his tenure as a starter in the NFL, Cleveland Browns quarterback Brady Quinn was again relegated to riding the pine, likely evoking thoughts of “Here we go again” from football fans in South Bend, New York City, Chicago, and Cincinnati-essentially anywhere the University of Notre Dame has a significant alumni base. [picapp src=”c/8/d/e/New_York_Jets_eb6f.jpg?adImageId=4656312&imageId=1654721″ width=”380″ height=”253″ /]
Quinn has a tremendous upside: big arm, athleticism, and the ability to read a defense well. He’s had two years to learn to be a quarterback at the professional level and has all the big-time college football experience any new starter in the NFL would love to have. Seems perfect, right? At least until you notice his knack for saving his worst for when the spotlight is shining brightest.
In his two and a half games at the reins of the all-new, Eric Mangini-led Browns offensive unit, Quinn managed a meager 400 yards passing, one touchdown, and an atrocious 62.9 passer rating as the Browns stumbled out of the gates to the tune of an 0-3 start. In his most recent effort—part of a 34-3 Brown loss to divisional rival Baltimore—Quinn threw for 34 passing yards and an interception before Mangini replaced him with former starter Derek Anderson.
The team ranks dead last in total offense with 218 yards per game. Many around the country may ask what’s wrong with Quinn. The question that should be posed is whether Cleveland fans are all that surprised.
Quinn, who played his high school ball two hours downstate at Dublin Coffman in Columbus, Oh., and his college ball at Notre Dame, has always had an affinity for fading away when he’s been in the limelight. In his senior year at Notre Dame in 2006, the Quinn-led Irish finished the season with a 10-3 record wiht a Sugar Bowl berth against first-year coach Les Miles and the LSU Tigers. The Irish boasted a high-powered offense featuring current-Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija and Rhema McKnight at wideout, and Darius Walker in the backfield alongside Quinn.
The three losses that year? The three marquee games against Michigan, USC, and LSU in the Sugar Bowl in games where the offense just was not there for the Irish. Quinn completed 43 percent of his passes for 148 yards and had two interceptions in the loss to the Bayou Bengals. Against Michigan it was the same story as Quinn’s three interceptions doomed Notre Dame in its annual rivalry. Quinn threw only two interceptions in the 11 other games combined.
So as Quinn’s name drops a line on the depth chart this week, do not act so surprised. His track record proves that his tenure as a starter in the NFL could only have lasted so long.
-James Hill ’11