Foot injury ends uneven season for Browns QB Quinn
Crutches by his side and his left foot in a protective boot,
quarterback Brady Quinn stared at the ground as his teammates
This wasn't the ending he imagined.
Quinn's uneven season is over, and so is his chance to impress new Browns president Mike Holmgren.
Quinn was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with an unspecified foot injury, the second straight season he has finished on IR. He got hurt while scrambling for 24 yards in the fourth quarter of Cleveland's 41-34 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
Browns coach Eric Mangini gave no specifics about Quinn's injury but said his recovery could "take a little while." Mangini said the team did not yet know if surgery was necessary and that it was unclear on film how Quinn, who was tripped up as he neared the sideline, was injured.
Quinn was not available for interviews as he sat off to the side in the indoor fieldhouse as the Browns worked out Tuesday. A few teammates came over and offered handshakes to the former Notre Dame star, who began the season as Cleveland's starter, lost his job, got it back and wound up hurt.
Quinn's injury will keep him out of Cleveland's final two games, which will be played with Holmgren newly on board after agreeing to join the struggling franchise as team president.
With Quinn out, Derek Anderson will start on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. It's yet another beginning for Anderson, the former Pro Bowler who went 1-4 in five starts after Quinn was benched 10 quarters into the season.
Benched. In. Benched. Back in.
It's been a crazy season for Anderson.
"I'm excited about the opportunity," he said. "Obviously we've been doing some good things and I'll try and just step in and continue to win games."
Quinn won a prolonged competition with Anderson that began in training camp and lasted until an hour before the opening game kickoff against Minnesota, when Mangini finally announced his starter. Quinn was then benched at halftime of Cleveland's third game in Baltimore, a surprisingly swift move by Mangini, who has spent most of the season preaching patience.
When Anderson had little success, going 1-4 in five starts, Quinn was reinstated as the starter on Nov. 16 against Baltimore. He threw four touchdown passes in a 38-37 the next week in a loss at Detroit, but it was a breakout performance for Quinn, who didn't make his NFL debut until the finale of his rookie season in 2007 and made just three starts last season before he was sidelined by a finger injury.
Mangini was hesitant to give an overall assessment of Quinn, saying he wanted to wait until after the Browns were done playing. But the embattled coach liked what he got from Quinn, whose season included a stretch of 150 passes without an interception and concluded with back-to-back wins over Pittsburgh and Kansas City.
Mangini praised the first-round pick for his ability to handle Cleveland's hurry-up offense, which the Browns unveiled after their bye.
"He made a pretty radical transition going all no-huddle," Mangini said. "I thought he operated that very effectively and got better as he went and helped us quite a bit."
Unsure of his own status with Holmgren coming in, Mangini didn't want to speculate on whether Quinn showed he could be the team's QB of the future.
"He's done a lot of good things," Mangini said. "A lot of things I was hoping for at the beginning of the season we're starting to see at the latter part of the season. The no-huddle helped him quite a bit. His ability to do that as well as he did helped us. He's improved in quite a few categories. Over the course of time we've gotten better as a group. We'll see where we are."
Quinn's accuracy was a problem while he went 2-7 in nine starts. He finished 136 of 256 (53 percent) for 1,339 yards with eight TDs and seven interceptions. He went four straight games without throwing an interception but had two picks in Sunday's game.
Quinn was handicapped by the Browns' lack of proven playmakers after Mangini traded Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards. It's tough to gauge a quarterback when two of his top targets are rookie wide receivers Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie.
The jury still seems to be out on whether Quinn can develop into a star. Holmgren will have film of 12 starts over three seasons by Quinn to evaluate, but Mangini warned that it's impossible to know the precise time period to judge a quarterback fairly.
"Everybody has a different opinion on that," he said. "I've heard 1,000 snaps. I don't know what the exact number is. You see some guys bounce around and play really well. A guy like Kurt Warner gets a chance and lights it up. (Doug) Flutie up in Canada. I don't know what point it hits. It hits different for different guys."