DENVER — Brady Quinn had a new look Saturday night but the same composure.
The rookie quarterback from Notre Dame has a shaved head, as does rookie tackle Joe Thomas.
“Just an involuntary haircut,” Quinn said, referring to rookie hazing. “I don’t know if it’s ever been this short.”
Quinn was criticized by fellow former Notre Dame quarterback Joe Theismann for having long, unkempt hair at the draft. The comments prompted a “normal” haircut for Quinn when he arrived for rookie minicamp in May.
“Joe’ll probably think it’s too short,” Quinn said.
Theismann would have a hard time finding anything wrong with Quinn’s performance in his first two professional games. Quinn was 7-for-11 for 81 yards and a game-winning 20-yard touchdown to Joshua Cribbs vs. the Broncos for a 116.1 rating. That follows a
13-for-20 effort vs. the Lions for 155 yards, two touchdowns and a 121.9 rating.
Quinn played against fourth-teamers in garbage time vs. the Lions. He went against Denver’s first- and second-team defense Saturday, including a series vs. the standout secondary of Champ Bailey, Dre Bly and John Lynch.
Quinn, working with the first-team receivers, led the Browns from the Cleveland
15-yard line to Denver’s 28 before Phil Dawson missed a
46-yard field goal. On third down, Quinn dropped in a pass to Joe Jurevicius in the end zone, but he was ruled out of bounds.
“It was encouraging, but we didn’t put one in the end zone, which is inevitably the goal,” Quinn said of his time against the starters. “I think I made some progress. I missed a couple throws, missed a couple reads.”
Quinn has openly professed his desire to start immediately, but the Browns’ plan is to go slowly and begin the year with him on the bench. Is he ready to start from Day 1?
“That’s a big question,” he said. “That decision is purely with the guys on the coaching staff. I just try to work as hard as I can every day. Hopefully in the end, whoever’s best-fitted to help our team win is going to be that guy.”
TD or no TD?
Replays showed that Jurevicius might have gotten both feet inbounds on the pass in the end zone, but coach Romeo Crennel didn’t challenge.
“There’s no TV upstairs in the coaches box and Denver did a good job not showing the replay on the scoreboard,” Jurevicius said. “Brady put it right where he needed to for me to get it. He’s going to be a very good quarterback, no doubt. He’s only going to get better as he plays more.”
Quinn would’ve liked to have seen a challenge.
“From what I hear, the replay looks like he got both feet in,” Quinn said. “The throw could’ve been a little better for Joe, make it easier on him.”
No TD for D.A.
After three games, Derek Anderson remains without a touchdown drive.
Against the Lions he led the team to the 1-yard line, but penalties and an interception killed the drive. Saturday night, he reached the
3-yard line but was sacked on third down by 350-pound defensive tackle Sam Adams.
Crennel wasn’t ready to blame Anderson, who was 7-for-9 for 74 yards and a 100.9 rating. He was sacked three times.
“You have to look at the reason the ball wasn’t pushed into the end zone,” Crennel said. “We’ll evaluate the tape. It’s not one guy who makes the play. I know he’s the quarterback, but to put it on one guy’s shoulders is not completely fair if other guys screw up.”
Anderson said someone ran the wrong route on the third-down play but didn’t point fingers.
“We had a little confusion down there and I wasn’t going to force anything and make sure we got points,” he said. “I thought as a whole unit, we kept the mojo going.”
Anderson was thrown on his hip on his final play but said he’d be OK.
Crennel wouldn’t say why tight end Kellen Winslow didn’t start and sat out the first quarter.
“Because I decided not to start him,” Crennel said. “I decided to start (Steve) Heiden and let him play a little bit.”
Was the benching for disciplinary reasons?
“No, a coach’s choice,” Crennel said.
On his first play of the game, Winslow was penalized for a false start on fourth-and-2, forcing a punt. He caught three passes for
Crennel didn’t have an update on right tackle Kevin Shaffer, who left with a concussion. Ryan Tucker, who will start the season serving a four-game steroids suspension, replaced Shaffer instead of Kelly Butler, who’s listed as the second-stringer. “Tucker is a seasoned vet,” Crennel said. “We felt better about having him in at that time. So we played him.”
• Backup safety Justin Hamilton left the game with an ankle injury. The Browns don’t have much depth at safety.
• Denver quarterback Jay Cutler went 9-for-16 for 115 yards, a touchdown and a 99.7 rating.
• The Broncos rushed for 157 yards and a 5.1 average.
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