The 2009 season seems a blur. Brady “won” the quarterback competition; he started on opening day against the Vikings at Cleveland Browns Stadium; then he lost his starting gig after several quarters; then he got it back after everyone realized that Derek Anderson was still Derek Anderson; then he got hurt and missed part of the winning stretch to close the campaign.
We know a couple of things as of today in terms of the quarterback picture in Brownstown in 2010. There will be no open competition – Mike Holmgren has stated that, unequivocally, more than once. Brady and Derek will not both be here when the season starts – the Walrus has stated that as well (although somewhat less emphatically; calling it a real “long shot”). The haze is starting to lift, but just starting.
With one exception, we cannot rid you of the remaining obscurity. The exception; DA is gone. He is not the starter for Holmgren. And he is far too rich to keep as a backup.
If we could be heard by Holmgren, we would encourage the Browns to go after McNabb. The draft is weak for quarterbacks who could start immediately. There are no better trade prospects. And we have little faith in Brady Quinn. We are the only team in the AFC North without a big-name, franchise quarterback. I get just as excited as the next guy about players like Eric Berry (who will be gone before we pick in the Draft anyways), but fellas in the secondary do not win Super Bowls. Period.
IF Brady gets the start in 2010, there are no more excuses for the golden boy. We supported him against Anderson at the start of last year. But enough is enough. No more blaming the receivers; or the pass protection; or the offensive play-calling (Daboll is a bum who should go back to the CFL); or what have you. It is time for Brady to earn his pay. No more crutches; no more reliance on inexperience (have you ever heard of Matt Ryan?). No more whining about injuries (it was confirmed very recently by Holmgren that Brady does not require foot surgery). It is now or never for Brady.
“The best predictor of the future is the past”. Oh, how we pray that is not true for Quinn and our beloved Browns. Because if it is, and if Brady gets the nod, we are in for a miserable 2010. Forget about the one game that Brady played in 2007. In 2008, Quinn’s QB rating was 66.6. Generally, anyone who knows anything about professional football will confirm that anything below 75 is very dicey for a starting quarterback. Brady’s pass completion rate in 2008 was 50.6%. Any quarterback who struggles to complete half of his passes should be in real danger of keeping his job, including a back-up. And, in 2008, Brady threw as many interceptions as touchdowns. Not a promising statistic.
The pessimist would stop right there. Brady does not have what it takes. We, however, like to be more optimistic. So we must take a look at 2009 (especially since Brady only played 3 games in 2008). Last season, Brady did not improve. We repeat – he did not improve. His QB rating was almost identical as the prior season – 67.2. His pass completion rate was almost the same as well – 53%. And again, he threw virtually the same number of interceptions (7) as touchdowns (8). Factor in his 4 fumbles (3 of them lost), and Brady turned the football over more than he threw touchdowns.
Say whatever you want about football being a team sport. Of course it is. But Brady Quinn has to take ownership of these numbers. If he was competing with anyone other than Anderson (and maybe Russell in Oakland), Brady would have been skewered.
Holmgren knows this. That is why he is sniffing around Philly. Holmgren helped build the careers of Montana, Young and Favre. When he looks at Brady Quinn, what does he see? We do not think that he sees a future reliable, proven, franchise quarterback. We do not think he sees a playoff berth within two years (which is his goal).
IF Brady is our starter in 2010, then we will rally behind him. The skepticism is hard to ignore, however.