Will Brady Quinn eventually be benched in Cleveland?

One of the knocks on Brady Quinn entering the 2007 NFL Draft was that he lacked the arm strength to zip the ball into tight coverage on passes longer than 10 yards. To a lesser degree, his accuracy and footwork were also questioned.

One thing Quinn rarely received criticism for was his ability to run a pro offense after studying under Charlie Weis at Notre Dame for two years. But so far, that’s one of the main factors playing into whether or not he’s long for the Browns’ starting quarterback job.

Said head coach Eric Mangini via the Canton Repository following the Browns’ embarrassing 27-6 loss to the Broncos on Sunday: “There were definitely some opportunities for him to get the ball to receivers that were open. There were some plays where I thought he had nice throws, but it’s consistency, it’s consistency, it’s consistency…first quarter, second quarter, third quarter, fourth quarter.”

While Mangini’s comments were hardly an indication that a change is coming, that doesn’t sound like a head coach that completely backs his starting quarterback. And whether it was semantics or not, Mangini was the one that waited the entire preseason before naming Quinn the starter, which raises the question of how long he’ll stick with the young QB if Quinn continues down the path he’s on.

Part of the problem with Cleveland’s offense over the past two weeks is that it posed little to no deep threat with Quinn under center. He rarely attempted to stretch the field vertically and even when he did, his passes either fell incomplete or he didn’t hit his receivers in stride.

In the loss to Denver, the Browns’ receivers combined for only 53 yards after catch. That’s not the receivers’ fault – that’s on Quinn for not being on the mark with his passes so that his wideouts can make the catch and get up field.

Quinn doesn’t look comfortable in the pocket and simply isn’t making enough plays in the passing game. Cleveland had just one trip inside the red zone on Sunday and that’s only because Denver fumbled on the opening kickoff to set the Browns up at the 22-yard line. While right tackle John St. Clair certainly hasn’t helped Quinn’s development by posing as a turnstile the last two games, the bottom line is that Quinn isn’t getting the job done.

Derek Anderson is far from the perfect solution to the Browns’ quarterback problems, but one thing is for sure: He can make all the throws. Anderson has a better arm than Quinn and more starting experience. While Quinn deserves time to develop, Mangini is running out of time to make a positive impression on his new employers. He won in his first year with the Jets and Cleveland fans were hoping for the same magic in his first year with the Browns.

But he can’t win without getting more production from the quarterback position.

Update: According to a report by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Mangini will stick with Quinn at quarterback.

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