Huddle Up

NFL News and Analysis with Andrew Perloff

Perloff
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  • 04:36 PM ET  08.07
Enjoy it now, Browns fans. Brady Quinn's signing may be the last good news regarding your passing game for a long time.

 

Let's say Quinn beats out Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson. Cleveland would be starting a rookie quarterback with a rookie left tackle. The Browns' main offensive weapons - Jamal Lewis, Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow and Joe Jurevicius - have more combined knee surgeries than touchdowns over the last few seasons. And the Browns face a QB-killing AFC North schedule.


Cleveland's only chance to protect its quarterback is to follow the Steelers' formula of recent years -- keep the ball on the ground as much as possible. The problem is, the Browns ranked 31st in rushing  in 2006. Wisely, they made improving that part of the offense their No. 1 offseason priority. They added running back Lewis and big-ticket free-agent guard Eric Steinbach, and drafted tackle Joe Thomas with the No. 3 overall pick. But it's hard to achieve a quick fix for a running game. As SI.com's Dr. Z has pointed out many times, it takes years of  personnel acquisition and coaching to establish a solid ground attack.

 

Even if Cleveland's running game does improve, it's unfair to expect Quinn to step in and produce immediately. Ben Roethlisberger and Vince Young's success as rookies are exceptions. Big Ben had a powerhouse team around him and wasn't called on to do much and Young used his legs make up for the Titans' deficiencies. Neither of those scenarios apply to Quinn.

 

The Browns might be wise to wait until after Week 7's bye to insert Quinn into the starting lineup. They face five of last season's top-10 defenses in their first six games (Pittsburgh, Oakland, Baltimore, New England and Miami). With all the injuries that have hit this team, Cleveland doesn't want defenses teeing up on Quinn before he knows what he's doing.

 

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