What Will Brady Quinn bring to the table? That was my biggest question when I learned that Seattle had agreed to a deal with the former first round pick less than a month ago. The further I looked into it the more I learned and liked the reality of Quinn backing up Russell Wilson.
Dec 30 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn (9) checks off in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field. The Broncos defeated the Chiefs 38-3. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
When I heard that Seattle signed Quinn instead of Seneca Wallace or Matt Leinart, I was confused. I thought that Quinn was the least likely to be chosen. Quinn lacks the raw foot speed of Russell Wilson. However, he does have good footwork in the pocket and is able to shuffle his feet well enough to create room. Don’t expect Quinn to be running the ball out of the zone read option anytime soon, though.
I was comfortable with Wallace as Matt Hasselbeck’s backup. He is not great by any measure, but he has a strong arm and can make plays with his legs. He is also someone who can take care of the ball and limit mistakes.
Following the Quinn signing I had to find out more about his abilities. What did Pete Carroll see in him above Wallace, Leinart, and Thigpen? Carroll likes players who bring a unique skill set to the team. What is Brady Quinn’s? He had flamed out in Cleveland, Denver, and Kansas City. All three teams basically said, “thanks, but no thanks.”
After doing some reading, I learned that Quinn is, in fact, very unique, at least to Carroll. In Matt Flynn, Seattle had one of the best backups in the NFL as well as a good starter. Seattle hopes Quinn will be able to share his experience with Russell, and Russell with Quinn to create a strong quarterback room.
During my research I found an interview with Quinn’s former quarterback Coach in Kansas City, Jim Zorn. In it Zorn praised Quinn for his football IQ, work ethic, and attitude. He spoke highly of Quinn’s ability to make calls at the line of scrimmage and predict what the defense is trying to do, and put the offense in a position to be successful. This carries some weight since Zorn himself was a quarterback and has coached the likes of Trent Dilfer, Matt Hasselbeck, and Joe Flacco.
While Zorn’s opinion is valuable, the fact that Quinn has not translated his skill set onto the field for an extended period of time is troubling. He has shown flashes of being a solid NFL quarterback but has yet to prove he can play consistently at a high level.
Having a solid offensive foundation in place, including an above average receiving corps, may help Quinn out. I do believe having a quarterback who is willing to talk things out with Russell Wilson will benefit both players. Flynn was not known to share Wilson’s regimen of arriving first and leaving last, which may have been a big factor in trading him. I do not believe Carroll would have signed Quinn if he felt that Quinn would be unwilling to help the growth of Russell Wilson in the film room and playing field.
My ideal quarterback situation is to have a starter who makes those around him better, and, if needed, can take games over. I believe Seattle has that in Russell Wilson. The backup must be able to competently run the offense, not make too many mistakes, and put the ball in other play-makers’ hands. In other words, play completely and comfortably within himself and the system
It remains to be seen if Quinn is a lock to be the number two quarterback behind Russell Wilson. Josh Portis, is also a talented quarterback who Seattle likes and resigned with the team during the off-season. The NFL draft will include players such as USC’s Matt Barkley, who played under Pete Carroll for a season, and Matt Scott, who has risen up draft boards since the combine. Scott is raw as a passer, but is able to move around well, and run the same offense that was installed for Russell Wilson.
It remains to be seen whether Quinn can live up to that standard. I will be excited to see the steps he takes in preseason to better both himself and the team.