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Far from flawless, Quinn still gave a sense of poise to Browns offense in victory

by Terry Pluto Tuesday November 18, 2008, 12:20 AM

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Who knows if Brady Quinn will develop into a Pro Bowl quarterback, but aren't you impressed by his poise? Don't you want to see more of him? Aren't you glad that at least Quinn gives you a reason to watch the last six games of this otherwise discouraging Browns season?


That all came to mind while watching Quinn and the Browns on this frigid night in a 29-27 victory over Buffalo. The wind was whipping hard enough to make teeth chatter and the goal posts shiver.


Yet Quinn stayed out of big trouble with no silly interceptions, few ill-advised decisions. He didn't waste timeouts because he couldn't hear the play call in the radio helmet. Or because he wasn't sure how the team was supposed to line up. Both had been problems earlier in the season.


Quinn looked as if he has been through this before. He was not bothered by the noise from a hostile crowd, or by a variety of Buffalo stampedes and blitzes. He was often knocked down after making throws, but stayed away from costly sacks. He also refused to give the defense the pleasure of knowing that they had caused him some pain -- and believe me, some of those direct hits had to hurt.




Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer

Brady Quinn (left), Josh Cribbs and Darnell Dinkins enjoyed Cribbs' TD run in the second quarter Monday night. The score gave the Browns an early 13-0 lead over the Bills at Orchard Park, N.Y.Yes, there was a close call in the middle of the fourth quarter when an interception was over-ruled by a challenge from Romeo Crennel. But then Quinn bounced back by delivering a sharp first-down pass to Kellen Winslow.

Quinn also showed excellent mobility. He ran twice for a total of 20 yards. He made some nice throws on the move, and he needed to be nimble in the pocket because he teammates had a dismal night picking up the blitz -- especially those coming right up the middle.


This was Quinn's second pro start. It came under the national television spotlight of Monday night and it was against a Buffalo team that came into the evening on a 3-game losing streak, but with a 5-4 record and playoff dreams still dancing in their helmets.


As for the Browns, it was a 3-game losing streak, a 3-6 record, and defense near collapse.


A tough setting for any quarterback, yet Quinn passed the test -- especially when compared to the Bills' Trent Edwards. Edwards was playing at home. The crowd noise was not a factor -- yet he threw three interceptions in the first quarter!


Too bad the Browns couldn't do more than turn it into nine points. Keep in mind, Quinn was not perfect. And it sure would have been nice to see Jerome Harrison on the field for more than three plays in the first half.


But overall, Quinn was solid.


It's very possible Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis was right to insist Quinn has the right stuff for the NFL because he played under such pressure in South Bend. Weis meant the attention and media scrutiny that comes from playing at such a famed program.


Another factor may be that at Notre Dame, Quinn often faced teams with more talent than his Irish. He is not intimidated by facing teams that are better. Or playing in front of huge, screaming crowds on the road. In fact, nothing about the job seems to knock Quinn off his confidence.


Granted, it's only two games. But even watching him in the preseason, he gives off the impression of knowing what he's doing. None of this guarantees stardom. Opposing teams will study his game films, chart his tendencies, try to take away his favorite throws and force him to make plays that are out of his comfort zone.


Quinn threw a few balls down field, none for big gains. But at least he forced the defense to think he could throw long. After catching only one pass in Quinn's first start in the 34-30 loss to Denver, Braylon Edwards was Quinn's favorite receiver on this night with eight catches.


Quinn was14-of-36 for 185 yards. Not great, but not bad. They have scored 59 points in his first two starts.


The Browns defense could have made Quinn's life a little easier with some solid tackling. Instead, it was often shaky. One of the reason the Browns tackling is so miserable is the linebackers aren't just slow, they are forever two steps behind and then making hapless and hopeless lunges to catch the ballcarrier.


But in the end, Quinn did more than win his first game as a Brown. He took another step to claiming to quarterback job for next season.

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Pretty balanced and about what I saw. Quinn's got a long way to go as does any new QB. He definitately left some plays on the field. That said, showed plenty of arm strength (he doesn't have DA's arm though, you can see that), was nimble in the pocket, and poised. I know that word poised gets overused, but he has it. Never panicked. Let's see where he takes us.

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