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Instant Analysis: Brady Quinn

Here's a pass-by-pass breakdown of Brady Quinn's effort in the Browns' heartbreaking loss to the Broncos on Thursday:

Drive One

1) Incomplete over the middle to Kellen Winslow from an empty set on second-and-8. Bad read: Coverage is tight in the middle of a Cover-2. Steve Heiden is running a flat while a wideout runs a fly on the right side and the cornerback is caught in space. Quinn should have looked there, maybe dumped to Heiden for 4-5 yards.

2) Complete pass to Syndric Steptoe short of a first down on third-and-8. Can't tell if anything was open deep. Not a horrible decision: Steptoe was open and had a chance to turn upfield. Good throw.

Drive Two

3) Play-action completion to Donte' Stallworth for good gain on first-and-10. Stallworth runs a cross behind the line of scrimmage. Smart playcall from a run-heavy formation.

4) Touchdown to Winslow. Quinn does two things well on this pass. First, he looks to Heiden running an angle route before throwing to Winslow. That pulls the middle linebacker out of the middle of the field, opening a throwing lane. He also hangs in against the rush and delivers the ball before taking a hit. Well-thrown pass.

Drive Three

5) Misdirection swing pass to Jerome Harrison from the full house backfield for nine yards. The Browns are running the ball easily against a bad defense, so they are selecting pass plays that are high percentage and built off play-action or run-heavy formations.

6) Incomplete fade to Braylon Edwards. Good read, not a bad throw against single coverage.

7) Bad throw to Edwards on an out route in the end zone. The throw is too wide. Cris Collinsworth says that there are open receivers, but they aren't on screen.

8) Bad throw to Heiden in the middle of the endzone. The pass is at least two yards behind him on an in route, and he wasn't very open (the far-side safety closes quickly) . I think throwing the swing pass to the running back would have been a better move: He had space to run against a team that cannot tackle. Browns field goal.

Drive Four

9) Backside pass to Heiden on play action for minimal gain on second-and-long. Nothing special.

10) Touchdown to Winslow. Good play call against man coverage: Winslow works underneath Stallworth against man coverage. Stallworth eats up the safety, clogs traffic, even sets a little moving pick (see figure) . Good read and throw. For the record, the Broncos are really helping.

Drive Five

11) Complete to Winslow on an out route for 13 yards on first down. Ball is low but catchable. Another late reaction by a Broncos defender: The linebacker covering Winslow is peeking into the backfield until the ball is thrown.

12) Short completion to Winslow on a stop route. Good read and throw.

13) Very good third down completion. The Browns start in the shotgun with trips right. Quinn looks right to pull defenders out of the way so he can look off and hit Heiden sitting in the middle of the field. Quinn is using his eyes well.

14) Empty backfield, complete pass for six yards to Winslow on a stop route in the middle of the field. Awful throw that Winslow has to scoop. Quinn doesn't plant his feet and comes over the top in his delivery

15) Short completion to Winslow on a drag. Not enough for the first down on third-and-4. Field goal, then halftime.

Drive Six

16) Play action, backdoor slant to Edwards on first down. Wide open, good throw (a bit low) in stride, solid gain. Good play call and execution.

17) Checkdown pass to the fullback for minimal gain on second-and-9.

18) Very nice. Quinn avoids the rush and has Stallworth on a double drag across the middle. Hits him in stride and gets about 15 because of YAC. Short throw but good awareness. I like the design and the play call: Heiden picks off the middle backer for Stallworth.

19) First down, play action, dangerous throw to a double-covered Edwards, who was not open against Dre' Bly on the cross. Bad decision and timing.

20) Mistimed throw to Winslow on an out route on third-and-long. Similar play to the second touchdown, but Quinn is rushed this time. Throw was early and off-target. Browns kick a field goal.

Drive Seven

21) Short-armed incomplete pass to Edwards on a flat route. I don't think Quinn sets his feet right here.

22) Another first down completion on third-and-long. Winslow is single-covered over the middle and Quinn sees it the whole way. Tipped ball behind Winslow, who reaches back for it and gets YAC.

23) Play-action, I formation pass to the halfback in the middle of the field for six easy yards on first down.

24) Safe completion to Heiden on an out route on second-and-long. Odd play design: Heiden and Winslow run duel, staggered out-routes on the same side of the field.

A fine play gets called back. Quinn rolls right away from the blitz and hits Edwards on a deep crossing route to convert a third-and medium. Very good throw, and the rollout gave him a throwing lane. Pass interference on Winslow negates the play. The turning point of the game, in retrospect.

25) Receiver screen on third-and-long. Punt.

Drive Eight

26) Throw away. The Browns try to run the play that got Stallworth open in the first quarter, except with Winslow crossing behind the line. The Broncos sniff it out.

27) Very good read and throw to Winslow on a slant to convert a third-and-9, but Winslow fumbles. Good play from a Quinn scouting standpoint because he throws on time and target.

Drive Nine

28) The Browns are suddenly trailing. Bad throw. Even Stallworth doesn't know if he was the intended receiver, though he got his hands on the ball. I think Quinn was looking for Winslow running a corner route behind Stallworth, but the throw was low and early.

29) Simple little completion to Winslow on second-and-long. Winslow turns a dig route upfield for serious YAC. The Browns like to run one or two receivers up the field and have Winslow work underneath them. It works again here, with Heiden throwing another little pick. Quinn made a nice read, easy throw.

30) Great awareness on second-and-long. Quinn has nothing downfield after a play action fake, steps up, and tosses to Jamal Lewis on a short angle route. Lewis has a mile to run. Easy throw, but good pocket presence and a smart decision with the ball.

31) Play-action backdoor slant to Stallworth, similar to an earlier play. Good mechanics, execution. Throw is a bit behind Stallworth but it is a tight spot where Quinn can't lead him. Stopped at the goal line. Touchdown run two plays later.

Drive 10

32) This is prevent/hurry up time. Quinn buys time and hits Winslow near the sideline for nine yards.

33) A high, throwaway incompletion along the sidelines. Quinn gets pressured by a four-man rush.

34) Short-hopped incompletion over the middle on third-and-1. Should be an easy throw, but Quinn comes over the top with his delivery.

35) Ballgame. Quinn delivers a very catchable throw to Winslow in fourth and short. It goes through Winslow's hands.

Conclusion: Quinn had a strong game against a poor defense. He did everything he needed to do to win. His mechanics were inconsistent but good for the most part. He handled the pass rush very well. He forced some passes, but he also made sound reads and was able to set up defenders. It was a very good outing, a B+ effort that should encourage Browns fans.

Comments

29 comments, Last at 10 Nov 2008, 4:02pm

1 Re: Instant Analysis: Brady Quinn

Didn't actually 'watch' it (NFL.com GameChannel) but sad in the fact that Winslow seemed to have contracted a case of Edwardus Cinderitis of the hands for this game.

I know Cleveland has had the rash of publicly aired staph infections but the spread of cinderitis to a TE could really be brutal to a rookie QB!

2 Re: Instant Analysis: Brady Quinn

I feel this game was a microcosm of Winslow's career to date. Some great plays, a lot of effort, but also some really stupid decisions/mental errors:

A killer OPI, a stupid fumble struggling with two guys all over him after he had the first, and a missed catchable pass that ended the game.

The Wire should win the Nobel prize for literature.

6 Re: Instant Analysis: Brady Quinn

All things considered, Quinn had a pretty solid debut, granted, against an awful defense. The games at the end of the season (Tennessee, Philadelphia, Pittsburg) will tell the tale as to how good he is.

I'll second that comment on The Wire. Best show on TV whil it was running.

3 Re: Instant Analysis: Brady Quinn

How bad was the Browns defense? I found this painful to watch - the Browns seemed to revert to the no-rush/no-pressure game they played against the Cowboys, so it's no wonder Jay Cutler kept finding open recievers.

4 Re: Instant Analysis: Brady Quinn

I got to watch all of a quarter of the game. It looked to me like Quinn was largely getting away with some poor decisions and inaccurate throws, mostly because his own receivers are good and Denver's defensive backs and linerbackers are pretty bad. He forced some passes to Winslow who was sandwiched between defenders on a couple of occasions. If his passes were more on target he might have been easily picked.

However, his Swagger Above Replacement (SAR) seemed greater than what Anderson has offered this season. The Browns seemed fired up on offense. I'm curious though to see how his Defense-Adjusted Swagger Above Replacement (DSAR) stacks up to Anderson's, since Anderson has actually faced competent defenses while Quinn took on Denver's local Pop Warner squad.

5 Re: Instant Analysis: Brady Quinn

Due to my son's football game, I only saw the last drive by the Broncos, the last drive by the Browns, and the highlights. Quinn was better than I expected, which is a good thing. The Browns are a franchise that could really use a young star QB to build around.

Relevant to the game but off-topic for Quinn, the 4th down conversion by Hillis was impressive. Throw in the huge receiving game he had last week, and that 7th round pick is paying dividends big time for the Broncos.

I have to tell you-- the Arkansas team from two years ago seriously underperformed. Jamaal Anderson, Chris Houston, Tony Ugoh, Keith Jackson, Marcus Monk, Felix Jones, Damien Williams, Peyton Hillis, Marcus Harrison, Nate Garner, and some kid named Darren McFadden. That team should have contended for the national title. I know that Petrino is not a favorite around here, and Nutt has done well at Ole Miss, but that Hogs team was loaded.

10 Re: Instant Analysis: Brady Quinn

It wouldn't be a Mike Tanier 2008 article without at least one play diagram :-)

It does make me curious, though. How would you defend Quinn if you were an opposing DC? Can you specifically break down the weaknesses and strengths of his game as a DC would? What will he expect to see in the future?

11 Re: Instant Analysis: Brady Quinn

I thought Quinn played well, with mostly good accuracy and excellent poise and mobility to gain extra moments to throw against the rush.

However, most of his passes were quick slants short passes and dump offs that went for good yardage because the Denver defense was so bad. To answer pawnking's question, I don't think there's anything particular you have to do to stop him except play the receiver's tight, tackle well, and dare Quinn to beat you with something beyond 10 yards.

If he does, then you can start worrying about how to stop him.

12 Re: Instant Analysis: Brady Quinn

Pawnking:

Obviously I can't speak for Mike, but speaking as a ND fan, I think I can give some insight here. Quinn's greatest strength is his confidence; he won a lot of games in college despite having a mediocre team around him because he knew he was talented and he doesn't get rattled easily. That said, he also sometimes gets over-confident; he makes throws he shouldn't because he thinks he can make them. Also, he's excellent at reading coverage and blitz.

That said, I would say the way to attack him is through zone blitzes, disguised/switching coverages after the snap, and showing blitz then dropping into coverage. The zone blitzes and the false blitzes could cause him to misread the field presnap and make poor calls and the disguised or switching coverages could confuse him. Once he's made a couple mistakes, he sometimes get rattled and starts forcing the ball more.

16 Re: Instant Analysis: Brady Quinn

Browns fans rejoice then! It's a good thing that Quinn doesn't have to play against any really good zone blitz teams that also happen to do a great job choking off the running game and underneath routes. Other than the Steelers and the Ravens a collective 4 times a year.

14 Re: Instant Analysis: Brady Quinn

Noah:

I think you're misreading that. The lack of long balls wasn't on Quinn; the coaches weren't calling them. Go back and watch his college highlights. There are plenty of long throws with perfect touch to Samardzija.

15 Re: Instant Analysis: Brady Quinn

So by my count, translating Mike's words into a scale, I count:

0 VERY Bad throws (i.e. throws that should have been intercepted or cases where Quinn misread a rush and took a sack/fumble because of it)

9 Bad passes (passes where it was essentially Quinn's fault they were incomplete, but no risk of turnover)

9 Neutral passes (plays where one can't tell if Quinn did a good job or not--throwaways, drops of difficult balls, etc.)

12 Good passes (plays where he did a good job making a read and made a good throw)

5 VERY good passes (plays where he had to perform above and beyond the call of replacement level to make something happen)

I'm a math guy, like Mike, so I want to quantify all this. Scoring -3, -1, +0, +1, and +2 for each category respectively, Quinn gets +8.

I wonder how that compares to other first QB games. Too bad we don't have a Tanier analysis for every game!

17 Re: Instant Analysis: Brady Quinn

So by my count, translating Mike's words into a scale, I count:

0 VERY Bad throws (i.e. throws that should have been intercepted or cases where Quinn misread a rush and took a sack/fumble because of it)

9 Bad passes (passes where it was essentially Quinn's fault they were incomplete, but no risk of turnover)

9 Neutral passes (plays where one can't tell if Quinn did a good job or not--throwaways, drops of difficult balls, etc.)

12 Good passes (plays where he did a good job making a read and made a good throw)

5 VERY good passes (plays where he had to perform above and beyond the call of replacement level to make something happen)

I'm a math guy, like Mike, so I want to quantify all this. Scoring -3, -1, +0, +1, and +2 for each category respectively, Quinn gets +13.

I wonder how that compares to other first QB games. Too bad we don't have a Tanier analysis for every game!

(Sorry for the double post...my arithmetic skills weren't up to par and I miscalculated 2x5 + 12 - 9, caught it just as I hit "Post", and tried to fix it before the comment posted...)

18 Re: Instant Analysis: Brady Quinn

"24) Safe completion to Heiden on an out route on second-and-long. Odd play design: Heiden and Winslow run duel, staggered out-routes on the same side of the field."

You mean that because they ran the same route, it was a duel to see who could do it better? Kind of like a dueling banjos thing?

Or did you mean there were two of them running dual routes?

21 Re: Instant Analysis: Brady Quinn

The moral of this game is that Brady Quinn or no, the Browns are still the Browns.

23 Re: Instant Analysis: Brady Quinn

if you enjoyed reading this article you will probably like this video. most of the plays mentioned above are shown:
http://www.nfl.com/videos?videoId=09000d5d80c4760d

25 Re: Instant Analysis: Brady Quinn

I've been having a conversation with fellow Broncos fans since it was announced that Quinn would be starting against the Broncos, and it goes something like this:
"You know what's sad?"
"No, what?"
"That Romeo Crennel decided that Quinn would be better off starting on Thursday with 3 days of practice than starting against the Bills with a week and a half to prepare... But what makes it really sad is that he is absolutely right."
So I guess what I'm saying is, Quinn looked good, but don't forget your opponent adjustments. You'll get to find out if he's any good soon, but right now, I don't think you can know.

27 Re: Instant Analysis: Brady Quinn

Romeo Crennel decided that Quinn would be better off starting on Thursday with 3 days of practice

Really, just one day of practice. A physical rest-day is needed right after a game, and Wednesday was probably a walkthrough at most.

28 How to game plan Quinn

It was correctly pointed out that Quinn's success was on short, safe passes which is all he can be trusted with so early in his career, even against a defense that can't cover anybody at any depth. On the whole, he was not great (but not awful) when the ball needed to travel more than 12 yards. For now, you take away the underneath and make him beat you deep. The zone blitz idea (or a standard 3-4 scheme) is valid as it will, somewhat counter-intuitively, disrupt the three interior middle zones. You don't need to bring a lot of pressure as Quinn in anxious to check down anyway.

I love the Swagger Above Replacement entry; Quinn is one cocky dude.