What makes evaluating backup quarterbacks in preseason so challenging is that they rarely get to play with the first-team offense.
But that wasn’t the case Thursday for Brady Quinn, recently anointed the Chiefs’ No. 2 quarterback. Quinn got the chance to play with the Chiefs’ first string, albeit briefly, in the team’s final preseason game at Green Bay.
Quinn, however, hardly flourished, even though he also faced a Packers defense that featured just one starter – rookie linebacker Nick Perry.
Quinn completed just six of 12 passes for 83 yards. He also threw a red-zone interception to Packers defensive back Sam Shields, the type of pick that has haunted Quinn throughout his career.
With the Chiefs’ inside the Packers’ 10, Quinn avoided the rush and stepped up in the pocket, then tried to rifle a pass into the back of the end zone for wideout Jamar Newsome.
But Quinn’s throw lacked the velocity necessary, and Shields rather easily stepped in front of Newsome to make the pick. That ended Quinn’s second possession.
Quinn, once the Cleveland Browns’ top pick, also missed a potential touchdown on his first possession, when he threw well behind to Jon Baldwin on a slant pattern inside the Packers’ 5.
But, of course, this was just a meaningless preseason game.
And there were some bright spots for Quinn in the Chiefs’ 24-3 loss.
Quinn made a nice 12-yard strike to Steve Breaston on that first possession. Quinn also hit Baldwin in stride for 18 yards to take the Chiefs’ to the Packers’ 11.
The drive stalled when the Chiefs committed two of their three false-start penalties on the seres, setting up a third and long.
Quinn then made a wise choice, opting not to force a throw into the Packers’ eight-man coverage, and instead ran for 5 yards. That set up a short field goal and gave the Chiefs their only lead of the night at 3-0.
On his second possession, Quinn played behind a few offensive starters, though the Chiefs by then started inserting their backups, many of whom are fighting for roster spots.
Quinn connected on a 20-yard strike to wideout Josh Bellamy. Quinn also floated a nice touch pass to tight end Steve Maneri for 16.
Then Quinn made perhaps his best play of the night.
On third-and-8 from the Packers’ 28, Quinn spotted the Packers in an all-out blitz from the outside. He also noticed the Packers were employing their safeties in a two-deep setup. That left the middle wide open, and Quinn didn’t hesitate: He scrambled up the middle for 23 yards to the Packers’ 5.
Quinn also showed his strength by taking two hard hits at the end of the run.
But two plays later, Quinn made the mental error that led to his interception and killed the scoring drive.
Quinn ran a few plays near the end of the half, and his work was finished.
The second half belonged to backups Ricky Stanzi and Alex Tanney, both of whom likely will be waived, though Stanzi could be brought back to the practice squad.
Stanzi, who has looked dreadful in the preseason, again looked shaky against the Packers. He completed four of seven passes for 25 yards.
Stanzi also overthrew a wide-open Maneri, who had crept beyond the secondary and might have scored on a 50-yard touchdown.
Tanney played one series and appeared to injure his thumb. Stanzi re-entered the game to replace Tanney midway through the fourth quarter.