Now that Brady Quinn has been dealt to the Broncos — and removed from Mike Holmgren’s plans in Cleveland after both the Seneca Wallace trade and the two-year deal given to Jake Delhomme over the weekend — we can focus on how the former first-round pick will fit with Josh McDaniels, Kyle Orton and Denver.
I had some doubts there would be takers for Quinn once Holmgren made those two moves because the now former Brown ultimately might have been released over time.
But when we look at quarterbacks in this league, and quarterbacks who have struggled to establish themselves as starters, systems and schemes do come into play when we watch them develop.
I’m firm believer that Quinn struggles when he has to play in a vertical, down-the-field passing offense that requires a QB with a big arm. The accuracy isn’t there, and he’s lacked big-play ability outside of a game against a Detroit Lions defense that was far below average in ’09. In general, he didn’t shown enough with the opportunities he had in Cleveland.
However, when we look at Denver, the passing system it runs under McDaniels does, in fact, cater to Quinn. I do think he can throw the short-to-intermediate passing tree. The Broncos have a high percentage of throws that come out of the 3-step game (slant, hitch, smash, China). And when we talk about the intermediate game, Denver runs the 15-yard dig, the deep curl, the out and the skinny post — all throws that an NFL starting QB has to make. And all throws that Quinn should make when he gets into camp this August. Multiple looks, multiple personnel groupings and various route combinations that will teach Quinn to get the ball out of his hands quickly.
The deep ball. Of course it’s in the playbook, but it isn’t relied on as much as other offenses we watch on Sundays.
I think this a good system for him, and no matter what we think of his time in Cleveland, he still has that tag of a first-round draft pick. Because of that, he will get another opportunity with the Broncos.
But how much of an opportunity?
In a pretty standard report after a trade, the Denver Post cites a league source that says Orton will remain the Broncos’ starting QB in 2010. I agree — to an extent — that Orton should go into this summer as the No. 1, but calling Orton your starter in March has little meaning. That’s why names are usually written on the depth chart in pencil at this time of the year.
Sure, Quinn still has a lot to prove, and there are still multiple question marks whenever he’s discussed as a legit starting NFL QB. But for the former Notre Dame star, this system under McDaniels does tailor to his game, and he should be able to show enough in camp to at least get a look. And at least make McDaniels think twice.
He’s not the type of QB who’s going to sling the ball down field, and even if we do call him a system QB of sorts, he might have just found the right one in Denver. Now, he has to show his doubters that he can go ahead an win a job.
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