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Seriously, Browns qb Quinn may get last laugh


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Seriously, Browns quarterback Brady Quinn may get last laugh: Bud Shaw

By Bud Shaw, The Plain Dealer

November 28, 2009, 5:05AM


John Kuntz, The Plain DealerBrady Quinn can't save the Browns' season, but he can position himself as next season's starting quarterback with a strong finish in 2009.


Guys like Brady Quinn always get the girl. Now, we find out if he also gets the last laugh in a somber season.


My definition: He improbably positions himself as next year's starter while the coach who benched him Vaudeville-style awaits the hiring of a football executive to decide his own fate.


For Quinn, that's what I'd call leaving the stage on a "Good night, everybody" high note.


When Derek Anderson took over for Quinn, I thought that if he had prolonged success he could salvage Eric Mangini's mishandling of the quarterbacks -- maybe even enough to keep the villagers and their torches away from the head coach.


Mangini not only would have saved the organization money in benching Quinn but also groomed his starter for next season.


But with Anderson looking every bit as lost as Quinn, that made it two stunted quarterbacks under the coach's watch.


Now, if Quinn has success in his second coming, it doesn't say much for Mangini. I mean, what choice did he have? Brett Ratliff?


If Quinn shines, it instead goes on the list of reasons why Mangini has so much explaining to do to keep his job. You mean we could've seen more of this sooner than Week 10? Nice plan, coach.


Those are the stakes for Quinn, who would never admit that what's left of the schedule is about showing Mangini how wrong he was. Which is fine, so long as the rest of us know that what's left of the schedule for Quinn is about showing Mangini how wrong he was.


This is not only Quinn's season, it's his 2010 season, too. Call it a two-for-one.


Starting Sunday, he moves from the warm glow of Ford Field to the great outdoors against three opponents with a combined 20-10 record. That Pittsburgh (6-4) -- the Great Tormenter -- is the most blemished puts the upcoming challenge in context.


After Cincinnati come the Chargers at home, then four days later the Steelers on the lakefront in a Thursday night game that must have seemed like a good idea at the time for the NFL Network.


Quinn, meanwhile, constitutes the only interesting story line.


He is under contract for two more years. It's imperative he shows he's worth the investment, because his contract still contains escalators of the sort Mangini was in no hurry to see him reach this season.


One game doesn't prove anything, no matter how offensively prolific.


"I always think we're turning corners," Quinn said of the Browns offense.


When have we heard that before? Anderson moved the team against Cincinnati at home but not again.


Quinn says he didn't see his breakout in Detroit as vindication, which is a good sign, because Detroit is where the Lions play. Statistics earned against the Lions deserve the second-biggest asterisk next to baseball's home run records.


For validation, Quinn will have to make the same throws against Cincinnati, San Diego and Pittsburgh.


He'll have to make them in the pocket against a pass rush. In cold weather. On the run.


If he can do that -- who knows -- maybe he'll own the bizarre distinction of having a second head coach name him the starter for the following season, only to see that coach get fired shortly after.


I don't know if that's the definition of the last laugh. But at the very least, it explains why these days in particular it helps to have a sense of humor around Berea.




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"Quinn, meanwhile, constitutes the only interesting story line."


Bizarre outlook. Maybe some in the national media and some Notre Dame fans see it this way. But most people think of Mangini as the most interesting character on the scene, and Cribbs the most exciting player on the field. For those who care about the Browns there are many, many interesting stories to follow.

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