King: What Now?

Today's news was handed out almost casually by head coach Eric Mangini, but may have lingering effects on the franchise. With Brady Quinn unable to use the final two games to improve his case, what will happen next?

By Steve King

Brady Quinn has played his last game of 2009 after having been placed onto the Injured Reserve List on Tuesday morning with an undisclosed foot injury suffered late in Sunday's 41-34 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

But will that be the last game, period, the third-year quarterback ever plays for the Browns?

Maybe so.

Had Quinn not gotten hurt, then he would have started the final two games, both at home, against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday and versus the Jacksonville Jaguars on Jan. 3. Now that job will go to Derek Anderson, who may also be making his final two appearances as a Brown.

Neither quarterback has endeared himself to head coach Eric Mangini with their play this year.

Quinn will finish the season having completed 136-of-256 passes (53.1 percent) for 1,339 yards, eight touchdowns and seven interceptions for a very pedestrian quarterback rating of 67.2. Those are Tim Couch-like numbers.

The knock on Quinn coming out of Notre Dame for the 2007 NFL Draft was that he was not accurate. He didn't put any of those notions to rest with the way he played this year. Mangini was extremely bothered by Quinn's lack of accuracy, feeling that there's not a lot that can be done at this level to correct it. A quarterback can either hit the target, or he can't. He's either born with it, or he isn't.

It's pretty simple. If a quarterback can't throw the ball to where the receiver can catch it, then it doesn't matter how good of hands the receiver has. That's a fault that can – and almost always is – a death knell for a quarterback.

Former Browns quarterbacks Brian Sipe and Bernie Kosar threw many more ducks than tight spirals, but they were right on target and thus almost always catchable. Vinny Testaverde had a cannon for an arm, but he wasn't accurate with it. Well, actually, he was accurate with it, but it was the opposition making the catch too many times.

Quinn did a good job limiting his interceptions, and improved in getting rid of the ball sooner. But he never improved his accuracy.

Anderson is even worse with his accuracy. He's hitting only 42.9 percent (66-of-154) of his passes this season, good for 681 yards and two touchdowns with nine interceptions. His rating of 36.2 is off-the-charts bad. A quarterback can have a rating like that almost by accident.

If Mangini returns next season, then it's almost certain he will do so with a new crop of quarterbacks. He doesn't feel as if he can win with either one of these guys.

But it's up in the air as to whether Mangini will be back after Mike Holmgren agreed Monday to become president of the Browns. Holmgren could well bring in a head coach with whom he is already familiar.

Holmgren is a good judge of quarterbacks after having been an assistant with the San Francisco 49ers during their heyday, then head coach of the Green Bay Packers when some guy named Brett Favre was throwing the ball.

It's hard to believe that either Quinn or Anderson would pique his interest. If one were to somehow make it into training camp next year, then it would most likely be Quinn because of what he did with the Fighting Irish and the fact he was the No. 22 overall pick by the Browns in 2007. Anderson was a sixth-round draft bpick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2005 and, aside from the first half of 2007, has played like one.

A personality on a Cleveland sports talk radio station Tuesday morning joked that with Anderson now taking over for Quinn, who beat out Anderson in camp, lost the job to him early in the season and then regained it, the quarterback controversy is back on in town. We assume he was joking, anyway.

That ship has sailed. There may be a quarterback controversy in Cleveland next season, but it won't involve both of these guys and it's likely that it won't involve even one of them.

The controversy now involves Holmgren and who he will bring in to fill various positions, maybe for general manager and possibly head coach as well.

But that's good for talk radio as well.

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