is a regular weekly Sunday feature that will continue throughout the
year covering hot topics surrounding the Browns, Buckeyes, Cavaliers,
and Indians. One question. Several different answers from TheClevelandFan.com
What a draft for the Browns last weekend. To get three top 15 talents
on day one, and now have three building blocks for the future is just
unbelievable. For many Browns fans, what happened last week now has
us believing we are making progress and there is a light at the end
of the tunnel.
While most people will agree that the Browns had an excellent draft,
and the ones who don’t agree the draft was excellent surely agree
they at worst did a good job. There is not much debate there. But, now
that the Browns acquired Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, there is
some debate on how to handle him going forward.
Quinn ran a pro-style offense in Notre Dame, and his mentor was Charlie
Weiss who knows a thing or two about coaching offense and quarterback
play in the NFL. It appears as if Quinn should be ready to step in game
one at home against the hated Pittsburgh Steelers. But, should he even
be considered as a starter for that game, and if not, when should he
take over as the quarterback for the Browns? TheClevelandFan.com writers
Mansfield Lucas: The watchword for the Browns in 07 is
"patience". The drafts of last year and this year give us
the impression that on paper this will be a better football team, perhaps
even on its way to being a playoff contending football team next year
after one more offseason. But as we know, games aren't won on paper.
On paper, you don't lose seasons off your career by hitting a parking
block in a community college parking lot while messing around on a crotch-rocket.
On paper, you don't tear a patellar tendon on the first play of the
first practice of training camp. On paper, an offensive line with 3
or 4 new starters at new positions may look good, but o-lines don't
gel or block on paper.
The first few games of the Browns' schedule are brutal based on the
teams' records last season. Game one is against the hated Pittsburgh
Steelers, a team whose blitzing schemes confuse seasoned offensive lines
and challenge quarterbacks to set the correct blocking schemes. Games
four and five are against the Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots.
Do I need to explain the obvious?
Look, did we or did we not learn from the past? The most important issue
is that Brady Quinn must *earn* the starting position. Nothing should
be given to him. I believe that Romeo will ensure that happens. The
question will be whether Phil and Randy let him, as I fully expect this
team to start off no better than 2 – 4, and perhaps even 0 – 6 isn't
out of the question given the west coast trip and if the Dolphins sign
Trent Green. Will we as fans be smart enough to recognize that 07 is
still about patience? Will we understand that even as most of the gaping
holes are filled on paper, assuming health, that it takes time for players
to become teams and rookies to actualize? Or will we be wailing and
moaning and calling for Romeo's head? I'm guessing it is the latter….
The "right" thing to do is this. Know that we are assembling
a team to break out in a most beastie manner in 08, and build it right.
That includes grooming a young QB the right way. Specifically, that
he doesn't start until he's earned the position, and that he starts
to play only when you set him up for success, not failure. Baptism by
fire? More like craptism by fire. You paid heavy coin to acquire Quinn.
I believe we'll still be drafting in the top 10, and it was still worth
it. Don't waste your investment by destroying his confidence or the
team's confidence in him.
If Quinn earns the position by a landslide, you use the bye week to
make the switch before the Rams game. If Frye or DA step up and are
as good as or better than Quinn by any close measure, Brady waits until
he earns the job next training camp, if ever. And if you actually believe
that playing at ND with Weiss means Quinn is more ready for the NFL
than a guy who has seen 18 or so NFL starts, then you is a hype-believing
sucka. As mediocre at best as Frye is, and as raw as DA is, they are
still light years ahead of Brady as to being NFL ready. Give the kid
a shot to be brought along right.
Hiko: Whoever wins the job should start the opener.
I'm all for bringing in a veteran QB to start the season, then easing
Brady Quinn into the starting role around midseason (unless, of course,
we're contending for a playoff spot, praise Buddha). Sitting for a half-season
or a whole season always seems to be beneficial for rookie QB's.
But if we go into Training Camp with this current roster, I find it
difficult to term either Charlie Frye or Derek Anderson as "veteran
leadership". Those two guys are only slightly more experienced
than Brady Quinn. What is Quinn supposed to learn from Frye? How to
bail out on a play early, scramble around, and make ill-advised throws
against his body? What is Quinn supposed to learn from Anderson? That
3 NFL starts does not a veteran make?
With only a slight edge in NFL experience and a perceived deficit in
talent, I don't think Frye/Anderson should get a pass over Quinn just
because he's a rookie. I think that all three should get their reps,
and may the best man win.
Erik Cassano: An as-yet-unacquired veteran quarterback
should start the Browns opener, and every game early in the season.
Along with drafting Brady Quinn comes the responsibility of making sure
he has every necessary tool to succeed -- something the Browns very
obviously didn't do for Tim Couch.
Phil Savage is off to a good start by rebuilding the left side of the
offensive line with Eric Steinbach and Joe Thomas. But Quinn still needs
to learn how to be a QB at the NFL level, and the best way to teach
him is to bring in a smart veteran QB who can set a good example.
I don't have anyone in particular in mind, especially since it's now
a near-certainty that the Browns are not going to make a play for Trent
Green. But Quinn needs a mentor.
As the season progresses, the situation can be re-evaluated, and depending
on the progress of the team and the performance of the veteran QB, Quinn
might be green-lighted to start at some point. But it shouldn't be right
off the bat.
The Browns botched their handling of Couch by throwing him to the wolves.
They don't need to be as careful in handling Quinn because they aren't
a first-year expansion team now, but they still need to handle Quinn
carefully at first.
John Hnat: The answer is "anybody but Brady
Quinn." Not because I hate the guy. On the contrary, I think he
is an excellent prospect and hopefully will be The Man in Cleveland
for a long time. Rather, I do not want to see him rushed into play,
particularly behind a line that potentially could have all five positions
manned by a player who was not at that position last year.
Installing Quinn as the starter from Day One makes his road much more
difficult. Four of the first five games this year are against powerful
defenses -- Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Baltimore, and New England. That's
not exactly friendly for a rookie QB. Start Brady from the get-go, and
he could be in the Clinic undergoing a staph infection transfusion ...
er, operation before the leaves start to turn.
Instead, let him sit and watch for a few weeks, no matter how ready
he may be, and no matter how much better he may be than current incumbents
Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson. Then (if he's ready), break him out
on October 14th, when the Browns face the Dolphins in week six, and
allow Brady to begin his NFL career against the team that most visibly
dissed him in the draft.
Cris Sykes: Should Brady Quinn start on September
9, 2007? I think it should be a completely and totally open competition
in training camp for the job. If he plays better in practice than the
other quarterbacks, then let him play. This is not the 1999 Cleveland
Browns, where you would worry about getting the kid killed. So if he
is better than Frye/Anderson he should start.
The Browns have made great strides in the protection they can offer
a quarterback. The left side of the offensive line will be better than
it has in years. If Kevin Shafer sticks around to play right tackle,
someone should be able to step up and be adequate at right guard. Hank
Fraley is solid at center especially in pass protection.
Brady Quinn will also have a solid set of skill players to distribute
the ball to. Braylon Edwards will be almost 2 full years off the knee
surgery and entering his third season, which has traditionally been
a big improvement season. Joe Jurevicius is a solid veteran option that
can be counted on to catch everything thrown his way and be in the right
spot at the right time. If Kellen Winslow can make a full recovery and
duplicate last year's stats, that is a great option for a young quarterback
to have. With Jamal Lewis in the backfield, the Browns should be able
to pay in front of the chains, making the job of the quarterback a little
Now, if Brady holds out or is slow to pick up the system during the
training camp, or if Charlie Frye or Derek Anderson have an impressive
camp, then you can work Quinn in a little slower. But if he is hands
down, the best quarterback on this team, put him in. He has to learn
Tony Lastoria: It is very tempting to anoint Quinn the
starter for game one, or at worst to consider him in the competition
with Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson, or whoever for the opening day job.
But, in no way whatsoever do I want Brady Quinn starting for the Cleveland
Browns in game one against the Pittsburgh Steelers. I don’t care if
Quinn is the shiznit in training camp and preseason. I don’t care
who his coach at Notre Dame was or how groomed he is with an NFL-style
offense. I don’t care if Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson or whatever
quarterback is on this team are clearly inferior to Quinn. I don’t
care if fans believe we can have a good season, possibly go 8-8 or better,
and dare I say it could make a playoff push. Ptooey.
We have to do this right. With what we invested to get Quinn, we cannot
throw him to the wolves to start the season. Our offensive line is relatively
new in that we will have at least two to three new starters, and others
may be in new positions. Give the line time to gel before putting your
franchise QB back there. Also, Pittsburgh is hardly the right opponent
to break in a young QB against with their blitz schemes. Let the schmuck
Charlie Frye get thrown around like a rag doll in the early going.
At all costs, you sit Brady Quinn the first several games. Then, when
the bye week hits Week 7, we re-evaluate the quarterback situation and
ONLY THEN consider him in the competition to be the starting quarterback
in Week 8 (game seven) against St. Louis.
Jeff Rickel: There is no true veteran presence
at QB for the Browns. Frye has the most starting experience, but
he's not a guy that you would want to tutor Brady Quinn. Truth
is, Quinn probably could teach Frye and Anderson a thing or two at the
position. Barring the acquisition of a good veteran QB to start,
I want Quinn to be the man who leads the offense for us against the
Steelers on Sept. 9.
I can understand the trepidation that many Browns fans would have in
regards to throwing Quinn out there due to recent history. We
saw Tim Couch battered around by defenses, never given protection or
enough assets on offense to do much. Frye has had better offensive
tools, but the protection has still been lousy. Neither QB was
really a "ready made" NFL QB, having enough experience in
a pro-style offensive that immediately starting would be easier to handle.
Brady Quinn is the most "ready made" NFL QB since Peyton Manning.
He's started for four years and played under QB guru Weis for two.
He's familiar with a more complicated offense. With Joe Thomas
on board, the Browns look to have the best line (on paper) that they've
had since the late 80s/early 90s. Quinn played at ND with a mediocre
offensive line, mediocre receivers, and a so-so running game (the OL
didn't help the runners). The Browns offer an upgrade.
While the NFL will offer much more difficult competition, Quinn has
the ability & intelligence to thrive. The Browns are not bereft
of talent on the offensive side of the ball and, most importantly, they
first sought to solidify the OL before thinking QB. I like Frye
and Anderson and think both are great to have on the bench, but Quinn
has more upside and is more advanced than either at this point.
He needs to start the season as the starter at QB unless Frye or Anderson
show tremendous improvement in the preseason.