Brady Quinn Headed to Denver

Former Notre Dame great Brady Quinn was traded to the Denver Broncos on Sunday. (Photo - IconSMI)

Former Notre Dame star Brady Quinn’s NFL career took it’s first major turn on Sunday when he was traded to the Denver Broncos after spending his first three NFL seasons with his home state Cleveland Browns.  Quinn, a former first round pick by Cleveland, was shipped to Denver in exchange to fullback Peyton Hillis and an conditional draft pick.

Quinn had a rocky career in Cleveland from the start with a brief holdout before his rookie season.  His up and down tenure in Cleveland comes to end just a day after the Browns signed former Carolina Panthers starting quarterback Jake Delhomme and less than a week after the traded for former Seattle Seahawk backup quarterback Seneca Wallace.

Originally drafted by the Browns in 2007 after a lengthy draft day tumble that saw Quinn walk onto the stage at Radio City Music Hall well after the rest of draft invitees, Quinn’s career never really got off the ground for his childhood favorite team.  After the brief holdout, Cleveland named Charlie Frye their starting quarterback only to trade him two weeks into the season.  Derek Anderson then stepped in and came out of nowhere to have a Pro Bowl season creating a quarterback controversy in Cleveland that never got settled.

Anderson struggled in 2008 allowing Quinn to briefly take over as the starter.  A broken finger ended up costing Quinn his sophomore season after just three games.  He entered 2009 as the starter for the Browns, but struggled early and lost his role to Anderson after another three starts.  When Anderson couldn’t solidify the position the Browns went back to Quinn, but injuries again cut his season short.

Once thought to be the quarterback of the future for the Browns, Quinn ended up throwing just 10 touchdowns in 14 games over three seasons.

The trade will give Quinn a fresh starter, but he steps into a situation where he will start out as the #2 quarterback behind incumbent Kyle Orton.  Orton, a former Purdue star, had a strong first season in Denver in 2009 with 21 touchdown passes and 3,802 yards. Orton, however, is currently a restricted free agent with the Broncos making him a first round tender offer.  It’s not likely anyone will give up a first round pick for Orton though so he will most likely be back in Denver in 2010.  The Brocnos now have a little more leverage in working out a deal with Orton though.

Should Quinn make it on the field and wrestle the starting job away from Orton, he will be in a much better situation with weapons like wide receiver Brandon Marshall (if the Bronocos keep their disgruntled star wide out) and sophomore running back Knowshon Moreno.

Working in Quinn’s favor will be a familar system.  Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels succeeded Charlie Weis in New England after working on the offensive staff with him from 2001-2004.

Unfortunately for Quinn, his familiar #10 is currently occupied by wide receiver Jabar Gaffney. Should Quinn ended up starting, something tells me he won’t have too hard a time getting it back.  Still, after wearing #10 in high school, college, and all three seasons of his NFL career, Quinn could be sporting a new number in 2010.


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  1. Jack 10 years ago


    Thanks. Being someone who played QB it sucks when you spend most of your time worrying about getting crushed. I guess I am optomistic about the atheletes we have on the defensive side of the ball. I think that we had to many people last year thinking about assignments instead of reacting. CW should have never went from a 4-3 to a 3-4 and back to a 4-3. I thought Tenuta was a great hire at the time but I think there were to many cooks in the kitchen and the kids got confused easily. I don’t think we will have that problem with Kelly, but the defense needs to step up. I am going to list five players I think need to step their game up in order for the Irish to have a good defense:

    1. Ethan Johnson
    2. Steve Filer
    3. Darius Flemming
    4. Kerry Neal
    5. Darrin Walls

    We need a good d-end, OLB’s that are getting the job done and a shut down corner. I also think Teo needs to take over the defense and tell B. Smith to step a side.

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  2. SteelFanRob 10 years ago


    Well said. The pro and college game are very different. The idea seems right. Get speed and positional versality on the field. And, yes, smack the man with the ball, whether that’s the QB, RB, or WRs. Get them thinking, looking aroud for the closest defender, hearing footsteps. A 34 can allow a DC to do a lot of exotic blitzes, dogs, and stunts with his front 7 and DBs. I think if someone can create the D version of the spread offense, they can create havoc and it’ll take OCs a couple of seasons to adjust (but for the time being that D will dominate). Why can’t we be the innovators for a change (like ND was in its heyday!)?

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  3. Jack 10 years ago


    We have enought talent in the front seven to run a 3-4 defense. We may not be able to run it like the Steelers or Ravens. The Cowboys Nose is Ratlif and he is tall and weighs about 290 but he is a monster. The DE’s are also not that big, but the OLB’s are monsters in Ware and Spencer. It will be interesting to see if Flemming and Filer can possibly fit the bill or who will step up on the OLB or DE. The offenses in the college game are also alot different than the pros. They spread you out so you can’t have a big slow front seven because most teams don’t run the power eye but the spread. I think what most college football d-coordinators are missing about the spread is smacking these QB’s around. Get in their face quick and hit them every play. Play bump and run on the receivers and stop the timing and cut down on the time the QB has to throw the ball. If the QB runs treat it like and option and smack the QB every play. Last year the Defense could not get pressure on QB’s in the gun and that hurt.

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  4. SteelFanRob 10 years ago


    Like C-Dog says, there are different ways to run a 34 D. Your overall analysis is correct. The 34 run by the Ravens and Steelers (and most teams in the NFL who run it today) depends on a huge NT (see Casey Hampton)and bigger, pass rushing OLBs (see LaMarr Woodley), usually tweener DE/LB types. Your DEs in a 34 are built like DTs in a 43 D (290-300 lbs. in the pros). The zone blitz package in the 34 masterminded by (now Hall of Famer) Dick LeBeau moves the front 7 around so you never get a read on who’s coming and who’s dropping into coverage (could even be the NT dropping into a zone area). Like I said, I don’t know if we have the personnel to run a true pro-style 34 D. But we certainly have enough talent to run some kind of version of it and improve over the course of the season (and from season to season).

    The Steelers have given me 2 SBs in 4 seasons. Now it’s time for ND to match the Stillers as the team with the most titles in their respective sport. GO IRISH!!!

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  5. Shazamrock 10 years ago

    I see where Junior day kicks off this weekend. The list of players set to visit was pretty impressive. The only thing that bothered me was that only one defensive tackle was on the list. With a new coaching staff I’m willing to go on faith and believe that they have a plan and know what they are doing. I hope it pans out.
    I also see where ND is going to play Michigan in a night game at the Big House. I think it’s the first night game ever at Michigan Stadium. Some years back we played the wolverines in a night game here ant ND. The place was electric and really rockin. ND vs Michigan in prime time. Now that’s what college football is all about!

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    1. nepachris 10 years ago

      coach kelly said defensive end was the priority this year and he does have alot of those coming. correct me if i am wrong, but in a 3-4 d tackles are really the nose tackle(ian williams, louis nix III). i also believe big(tall), athletic(lighter,quicker) d ends are the key along with great linebackers. steelfanrob should know more about this, he is a steeler fan(booo!!).

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      1. C-Dog 10 years ago

        In the old 3-4 that Barry Alvaresz ran for Holtz, defensive tackles were not nose tackles. Your nose could be shorter, like chris zorich, but your tackles on both sides were taller, Alm and Boo Williams ( is my memory correct? ). Your ends are linebackers who can move. The key is both strength and quickness. Those 7 guys, linemen and linebackers need to be able to move quickly. The read/react time must be instantaneous. what Alvarez did was have the defense let the first series progress. They’d read and pick out tendencies. Then maybe allow a field goal. After that it was let it rip. The linemen assignment is easy. The linebackers are the ones who need to have a sixth sense for the play before it starts.
        Teo may be there this year. Just like Stonebreaker.

        They have everything they need. It all depends on the strength, conditioning and agility program. Better footwork will turn this defense into something to fear. Both offensive and defensive lines totally lacked good footwork under Weis. That should change. We’ll see in September.

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