This organization has made a truckload of egregious personnel decisions in the past 10 years. We longtime fans have become accustomed to coaches and general managers who don't know how to judge or pick talent. We certainly don't want Quinn to become a Hall-of-Famer with another team.
Not that he will. We just don't know one way or the other, and we believe it would be yet another stupid move by the Browns to jettison him before they know for certain.
Scouting reports say that Quinn possesses the requisite leadership qualities to command a huddle. It's said that he has a high football IQ, that he's "football savvy." With a legion of fans watching his every move ("Quinnbots"), he obviously has a rare marketability that could become the face of the Browns -- not unlike Bernie Kosar -- for years to come.
Quinn, the scouting reports say, "has adequate arm strength" and "can make all the necessary throws." He is young. He also is 6-foot-4, 230 pounds -- the perfect size for an NFL quarterback. And he is strong; he can bench-press 350 pounds and squat 475 pounds.
Beyond what the former Notre-Damer showed in South Bend, the Browns know very little about Quinn. Thanks to some questionable (my polite way of saying "dumb") managerial decisions during the past two seasons, he didn't get a chance to prove much of anything beyond his penmanship (taking notes on the sidelines). When he did get his chance after Derek Anderson went down with an injury last season, Quinn showed flashes of brilliance in his three starts before the finger injury.
San Diego Chargers general manager A.J. Smith once said of Quinn: "The guy's a football junkie. He takes care of his body, and I have seen enough of him that I think he'll be a fantastic pro. Put the guy in the right situation, and he'll have that chance."
The only knocks on Quinn -- so far -- are his ability to hit a streaking receiver downfield and his accuracy when flushed from the pocket. Surround him with legitimate offensive linemen and you don't have to worry about him having happy feet or throwing on the run. Give him a couple dependable receivers and a decent running game and you don't have to worry about trying to hit the home run. (Since when has the 70-yard touchdown pass played well in the AFC North, anyway?)
Nobody's perfect. Quarterbacks don't need to be perfect to be winners -- they just have to be smart, confident, fairly consistent, and know how to command a huddle. So far, we've seen no evidence of Quinn lacking any of those qualities.
At this writing, there are multiple teams in the NFL (like the Vikings and the Jets) who will head into 2009 a quarterback short of being a legitimate contender. According to recent reports, at least two NFL teams have offered a first-round pick in Saturday's draft for Quinn -- so there are some knowledgeable football people who love his upside. Meanwhile, Kokinis and Mangini are said to be taking a long, long look at using their No. 5 first-round pick on USC quarterback Mark Sanchez -- if they can dump Quinn. Considering the Browns' many needs at other positions like receiver and defensive back, and considering the heretofore unproven ability of Sanchez to excel at the NFL level, I question the soundness of that strategy.
There's one scenario where trading Quinn could make some sense. Judging by what little information has emanated from Berea, Mangini might want to emphasize the running game this season rather than the passing game, given the fact that he has very little on the roster in the way of people who can catch the ball. In that case, the Browns might not need a studly passer, but rather someone who does nothing more than hand off to Jamal Lewis -- and Anderson has already proven that he can handle that task very effectively.
It's already evident that Mangini and Kokinis do not have a lot of confidence in the roster they inherited and that they do not have a lot of respect for their predecessors' football knowledge. They have already started "cleaning house." But to jettison Quinn just because he was chosen by the last regime is not a very astute move on their part. And it's hard to believe that they've seen enough tape of him to definitively judge his talent.
For the record, I'm not a Quinnbot. I'm not saying that he is going to be Joe Montana reincarnated. He could be a Mike Pagel or Todd Philcox or Mike Phipps. But he also could be a Bernie Kosar or Brian Sipe or Frank Ryan. He hasn't really had a bona fide chance to show the Browns what he can or cannot do -- and, being a first-round draft choice who loves to play for the Browns, he deserves that.