March 26, 2012 // NFL Fighting Irish

Quinn, Zbikowski Headline NFL Irish Free Agents

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Brady Quinn reunited with Romeo Crennel, his former head coach in Cleveland, when he signed a free agent deal with the Kansas City Chiefs last week. (Photo - Ric Tapia/Icon SMI)

During Brady Quinn’s senior season at Notre Dame, Charlie Weis would tell anyone who would listen that he felt Brady Quinn would be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL within a few seasons.  After four seasons in the league, Quinn is restarting his NFL career for a second time after signing a free agent deal to be the backup in Kansas City.

Quinn’s draft day stumble in 2007 was well documented and since then he has had a hard time establishing himself as a starting quarterback in the NFL.  During his time in Cleveland he had some moments, but the Browns decided to move on after drafting Colt McCoy and shipped Quinn off to the Denver Broncos before the 2010 season.  It didn’t take long before Quinn was in a situation where the team he was playing for drafted another rookie quarterback when the Broncos selected Tim Tebow in the first round in 2010.

After two seasons moving up and down the Denver depth chart but never settling in at the top, Quinn is now on the move even though both Tebow and Kyle Orton have left Denver as well.  Oh yeah, the Broncos did sign Peyton Manning in the process.  As far as backup roles go, being Manning’s understudy wouldn’t be a bad gig – especially since Manning is coming off of missing an entire season after three neck surgeries.

In Kansas City though, Quinn will be backing up a starting quarterback, Matt Cassell, who health issues aside has much less of a lock down on his starting role.  Cassell had his own health issues in 2011 missing seven games with a broken hand.  Prior to the injury though, Cassell struggled to recapture the success he had in 2010 when he tossed 27 touchdowns to just 7 interceptions while putting together a quarterback rating of 93.0.  In the 9 games Cassell saw action in last season he threw just 10 touchdowns and was intercepted 9 times for a QB rating of 76.6.

Quinn will also be reunited with Romero Crennel – his head coach in Cleveland and the last head coach to make him a starting quarterback.  The Chiefs also hired Brian Daboll, a former New England Patriots offensive assistant while Charlie Weis was still the offensive coordinator who was also the offensive coordinator in Cleveland when Quinn made his last start in 2009.

Quinn actually took less money in Kansas City according to a release on the Chiefs official website.

Quinn chose Kansas City despite being offered more money by the Broncos.  As he explained through an official release on the Chiefs website.

“I felt like the opportunity to come and play for Kansas City was a better situation for me right now,” Quinn explained. “When you look at the Denver situation there were a lot of unknowns. It was a great organization, but I felt that for me personally it was a better opportunity to go to Kansas City.”

He also cited his comfort level with Crennel and Daboll as a reason he signed in Kansas City.

“One of the biggest things for me was my comfort level in Coach Crennel, having been drafted by him as well as playing under Brian Daboll,” Quinn said. “I know (Daboll’s) system, have worked with him before and I really enjoyed my experience with him.

“(Crennel) knows how to coach and he knows how to take care of players. He knows how to do the right things. Romeo isn’t going to baby guys and he’s going to be hard on guys when he has to be. He’s got a lot of savvy and does a lot of great things that I think will put our team in the best position to win.”

Tom Zbikowski Headed to Indianapolis

Just like the Colts franchise in 1984, Tom Zbikowski is moving from Baltimore to Indianapolis this off-season signing a free agent deal with the Colts after spending the first four seasons with the Ravens.  Zbikowski will be reunited with Chuck Pagano – Indianapolis’s new head coach.  Pagano was previously the defensive coordinator for the Ravens in 2011 and before that he got an up close look at Zibby as the secondary coach for the Ravens during his first three seasons in the NFL.

In Indianapolis Zbikowski will likely start the season as the starting strong safety alongside long time Colt Antoine Bethea.

The lure of a starting position and being reunited with a coach that got an up close look at him over the last four years is what drew Zbikowski to Indianapolis.

“Going into free agency I was looking to work with a team that saw me being a big part of the defense,” Zbikowski said. “Obviously nothing is guaranteed but I was just looking for someone that saw me playing safety, that needed a spot to be filled at safety and work from there.”

Much like throughout the rest of his collegiate and professional career, Zbikowski will also be looked at to contribute on special teams as a return man. Another aspect of Indianapolis that drew the former Irish standout to sign with the Colts.

“I love to play as many plays as I possibly can,” Zbikowski said. “That’s why I’ve always used boxing as a tool (for) conditioning. I have had a relationship with Marwan Maalouf, the special teams coordinator. Since my rookie days, he’s been an assistant in Baltimore too. He knows my mentality, knows my personality, if there ever is a time he needs me, he can plug me in at any position.”

 

Comments to this Article

  • Chris commented on March 28th, 2012 at 9:05 am

    I really hope Brady proves everyone wrong about him not being able to succeed in the NFL. I know the guy can do it and if a team would freakin commit to him to be the guy and build the team around him, he and the team will succeed. Best of luck to Brady.

    [Reply]

  • James commented on March 29th, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Heck ya I agree he’s a god in collage and when he started in clevend he really was not to bad just a bunch of shit around him the worst teams always draft the best players because they did the worst and get the best picks so Quinn was kinda damned from the start. I saw quinn in pre season he was pretty good better then orton and a million times better then Timmy tebow if he gets a chance he will be a pretty good QB in the league. I really hope he starts i’d put him in my fantasy league.

    [Reply]

  • PETE RENZO commented on June 5th, 2012 at 11:50 am

    I DON’T KNOW IF BRADY QUINN HAS WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A SUCCESS IN THE NFL BUT TO THIS POINT HE HASN’T GOT A FAIR SHAKE – I BELIEVE HE WILL SUCCEED.

    [Reply]

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