Outside of eight passes in the 2007 season and some pre-season game action, the amount of true evaluation on QB Brady Quinn hadn't been too extensive -- or worthwhile, for that matter. Sure, we hear stories about how well the second-year signal caller has fared in practice sessions, but game day is the great equalizer.
Some months ago, Quinn's former coach in college, Charlie Weis, discussed the make-up and abilities of his star pupil. "Brady is the type of quarterback that is more than just a student of the game; he has every intangible necessary that the very good ones possess," Weis told The Orange and Brown Report.
Watching Quinn last Thursday night against the Denver Broncos in Cleveland, it was clear to the naked eye Quinn is a different player when the chips are on the line than, say, in an ordinary practice session.
"Brady always had the ability to take his game and his teammates to another level on game day. His knowledge and leadership are excellent, but it is what he does on the field that makes his special. He has that special ability to make things happen," Weis added.
Throughout his one-plus seasons in Cleveland, Quinn has been molding himself for this eventual opportunity. Never one to say much, the QB bided his time and remained focused on the game, as well as being a solid support system for starter Derek Anderson.
"I want to play and know I can play competitively. Right now, I am the backup, but plan and practice everyday as if I am going to play. Right now it is more important that we are a team. My time will come," Quinn told The OBR in training camp.
On a crisp night in Cleveland, the unveiling of the Brady Quinn show would be on center stage. The only game scheduled for this night, Quinn and the Browns were on center stage in a game which had significant implications on the Browns' season.
On this night, the future was in the present for Quinn and the Cleveland Browns, and the QB did not disappoint.
Quinn pick and pecked away at a Denver defense which has geared to take away the deep pass. The Broncos' coverage was such that Quinn would be forced to look at his secondary options and make plays. In all, Quinn would complete 24 of 35 passes - which would appear to be a successful coming out party.
The film showed Quinn made very few mistakes, his presnap reads were solid and his recognition was sound, although he failed to complete one pass downfield in the game in spite of a few opportunities.
"To understand what Quinn did in this game helps you understand what type of player he is. Rather than force the ball into coverage, he was more processed into positive plays, positive yardage and yards after the catch," an opposing AFC front office rival told The OBR. " We looked at this tape and compared it to his previous game activity and it is clear: the speed and knowledge of the game are instilled in this young player, he has the mental capacity and physical ability to lead a team."
Although Quinn's performance was solid, there has to be reservations about the opponent, as well as what will happen when the opposition has sufficient knowledge of the player and his tendencies.
Against the Broncos, the QB did not attempt a downfield pass, but he was accurate and quick in the short to intermediate game. For a Cleveland offense which has struggled with inconsistency, execution and penalty issues throughout the season, his play and leadership is what the doctor ordered.
Due to the nature of the season and issues within the organization, one anonymous front office member of the Browns adds, "We have two good quarterbacks here, with Brady we feel that he will provide a different look and manner which the team will be led. We were not really surprised with how well he played."
One game down in the Brady Quinn era, and with each passing effort the Browns are confident they indeed have their QB of the future on the playing field.