EDITOR'S NOTE: Throughout the course of Tuesday evening, rumors continued to swirl around Browns quarterback Brady Quinn, driven in no small part due to information which was posted yesterday afternoon on the OBR Watercooler, and was later reported by media sites like ESPN and others, stating that Brady Quinn had put his home up for sale. In reporting this tidbit in headline fashion, the media gave many fans the impression that a Quinn deal was a fait accompli. That does not appear to be the case.
Listeners to Tuesday night's OBR radio program know that, while a trade of the Browns quarterback could potentially happen, as of tonight we have no word that a deal had been completed, or even the names of potential trading partners. Fans who follow the OBR will remember similar tales of Derek Anderson putting his house up for sale last season inferring that he would be gone (he wasn't), and that rumors that Bill Cowher had placed a bid on a house in Cleveland meaning he would be the team's next coach (no one let Randy Lerner know, apparently).
With these rumors swirling, the OBR's Lane Adkins has spoken to sources close to the situation to get a handle on what has led the Browns and Brady Quinn up to this point.
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Talking with sources within the Browns organization and close to the central drama involving Browns quarterback Brady Quinn, TheOBR.com has learned a little bit more about the reasons why trade rumors now swirl around the third-year signal caller from Notre Dame.
The story really begins in 2008, as the Browns' high expectations collided with poor performance and a team expected to challenge for a playoff spot fell to a 4-12 record and into the depths of offensive ineptitude.
A DIVISION IN THE RANKS: Alongside former Browns tight end Kellen Winslow, the Browns wide receivers had some differences in opinion about who was best suited to deliver the football as the team's awful 2008 season wore on.
Winslow was a vital member of the 2007 successful season in Cleveland with Anderson at QB, but during the 2008 season, Winslow pined for Quinn to get an opportunity. The Notre Dame passer and the Miami receiver were syncing well in practice, and Quinn looked sharp. Moreover, Quinn was not swayed with the constant (and problematic) demands made by enthusiastic targets Winslow and wide receiver Braylon Edwards.
Winslow wasn't alone. Like "K2", Edwards also remarked on numerous occasions that something had to change and Quinn was ready to play.
Mid-season, Quinn was thrust into the starting role for the fading Browns. Despite the public front, the decision to start Quinn was hardly unanimous in the minds of the team's front office and coaching staff. Our sources suggest that Quinn was somewhat hamstrung by the offensive scheme, and the play-calling of then-offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, well known as an advocate of Anderson since early in 2007.
Despite having the offensive playbook reduced, Quinn had some success in leading the Browns to a couple of their better offensive efforts in 2008. After a brief time in the starting role, an injury to this throwing hand derailed Quinn's season. As the Browns finished the season with journeymen like Bruce Gradkowski at the controls, a QB controversy loomed.
NEW MAN IN CHARGE: As Eric Mangini was named to lead the Browns, Quinn was of the impression he would be provided the opportunity to compete for the starting job. The Browns head coach announced prior to the draft that he intended to hold a competition between Quinn and Anderson for the role.
Mangini kept his word. Throughout the Browns off-season and camps, Quinn was finally getting a true opportunity to compete for the starting job, rather than being cast as the backup going into the season.
Due to his performance in training camp and pre-season games, Quinn was named the starter and was told to keep working on his game, areas which are believed to have been clearly defined by the head coach and offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll. The decision to start Quinn was hardly unexpected by even casual outside observers.
Once again, however, there was nothing approaching unanimity about the decision, with the dissent this time coming from the team's locker room. Coming out of the winner of the QB competition against Anderson, there was some question regarding Quinn being named the starter amongst some on the team's roster.
There is a belief that Mangini's confidence in Quinn wavered throughout the competition process and his decision to start the third-year signal-caller went down to the wire. Even in naming Quinn the starter, Mangini had his reservations.
Mangini was concerned about Anderson's propensity to turn the ball over and not play fundamental football. In Quinn, Mangini had hoped Quinn's tendency to not force the ball would assist an offense looking to formulate an identity.
Quinn worked diligently to learn the offensive scheme, spending endless hours with Daboll studying film and terminology. Some within the Cleveland Browns locker room did not approve of the time and course of relationship. Could there be a real competition when the coordinator and player worked together so closely?
QUARTERBACK IN A BOX: Throughout the early portion of the season, Brady Quinn felt the coaching staff -- in general OC Brian Daboll and HC Eric Mangini -- stripped him of the ability to run the entire offense and were not receptive to ideas and suggestions during the course of the game. On more than three occasions, Quinn was questioned about checking out of a play or suggesting a different playcall or approach.
Following the season-opening loss to Minnesota, Quinn was led to believe there were things he and the offense could improve upon, but was also under the impression it was part of the process. Despite the weak performances unleashed in early games, Quinn was not supposed to be on a short leash. According to our sources, he was told that he was the starter and had nothing to be concerned about.
After Quinn was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 2007 draft, his head coach while at Notre Dame, Charlie Weis made the following evaluation of his pupil:
"Brady is a winner, the young man puts all the time in and understands the game. What he has is that ability to know, to elevate his game and lead those around him.
With quarterbacks, some develop quicker than others. If in the right situation and given the right support, Brady is going to be a very good professional quarterback. He has every quality you look for, every one."
But like a lot of people who suspect that they may not be on firm ground, it was hard not to sense that something was awry. The ultimate decision to pull the quarterback came as a surprise, but not a shock. The third-year QB sensed something was not right with the manner in which the game situations were being handled, a feeling that extended to practices as well.
Quinn was of the impression after meeting with Mangini, and later Daboll, that the plan was to work on what they (Quinn and offensive unit) do best and develop the offensive system, which was not where the offensive coaching staff believed it needed to be.
Despite the the concerns about the offensive scheme, Quinn was disappointed with his play.
When informed he was being benched at halftime in Baltimore, Quinn did not want to sit and expressed he could get the job done. Despite the plea, Quinn sat.
WANTING TO BE A BROWN, WANTING TO PLAY: Within the past ten days, Quinn has expressed his disappointment to both Eric Mangini and Brian Daboll -- he acknowledged he did not play well and took responsibility for the offense.
Quinn is also believed to have told each coach he was disappointed the coaches pulled him -- a severe blow given his understanding that he would be allowed to gain experience and work hand-in-hand with the development of the offense.
In private, Quinn was vocal regarding the demotion when speaking with both the head coach and offensive coordinator.
Like all high-caliber athletes, Brady Quinn wants to play, and our sources tell us that he believes the demotion was not warranted.
Pondering what's next for his career, Quinn has heard the speculation of a potential trade. Although the situation remains out of his control, Quinn remains steadfast in his desire to lead the Cleveland Browns, but is aware his best opportunity may be elsewhere.
In questioning the change and the manner which his benching was handled, Quinn has quickly gone from potential QB of the Cleveland Browns to somewhat of a non-factor. While the player remains upbeat and supportive, the reality is he may not have the opportunity to start again, an opportunity he has long expected.
As of the time of this writing, despite the usual rumors and speculation posing as news, neither Brady Quinn nor his representative has officially requested the Cleveland Browns trade the quarterback, according to sources close to the team and player.
Despite the situation, Quinn has remained publicly supportive of the team, but has been crystal clear: He wants to play
And he expects to be a starter in this league, an opportunity which was pulled out from under him after ten quarters of football against teams with a combined record of 13-2.