Brady Quinn hasn’t been relevant since training camp, when he was slotted ahead of Tim Tebow on Denver’s quarterback depth chart. Prior to that his last bout with relevancy came two years ago in Cleveland, which was the last time he appeared in an NFL regular-season game.
He has a career 52.1 completion percentage over 12 starts with the Browns, and he averaged a meager 5.4 yards per pass attempt. At this point in his career he has far more talent as a boyfriend than as a quarterback, but he’s likely still a better passer than Tim Tebow.
He’s still a backup quarterback, and little more, but he may be a backup who’s about to become the most hated man in Denver. That’s because if anyone not named Tebow is under center Sunday against the Steelers, the city will gradually begin to implode.
Earlier today ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio reported that Quinn has received “roughly half” of the first team reps this week during Broncos practice, which is highly unusual for a second stringer. At most to ensure that he’s fresh and aware of the game plan, teams will give a backup quarterback 25% of the first-team reps, a rate that usually declines as the week wears on.
Later ESPN’s Ed Werder sprinkled PFT’s report with some reality potion, which is quite difficult to find in the presence of Tebow. Werder reported that Quinn has received eight first-team reps all week, and eight is more than usual. Our abacus indicates that eight reps over three days of practice is about a paltry 2.5 per day. Since a half rep is impossible, we’ll round Werder’s report down, and go with two.
Two. Two reps per day.
After the Internet smoked, simmered, and fried this Quinn rumor for a few hours, Quinn was contacted. In this age of rampant telecommunication it was difficult, but someone actually had a conversation through text messages with Quinn to verify how many practice reps he had today.
That someone was NFL.com’s Jeff Darlington, who’s now a pair of dark glasses and a bad catch phrase away from becoming the NFL’s Horatio Caine. It turns out our old school arithmetic is correct in a round-about way. Qunn told Darlington that he received two first-team reps on Friday, and that his practice workload this week hasn’t changed.
So, this is likely nothing, just as most reports regarding Tebow and his starting status have been throughout the year. But Quinn’s practice reps will mean little if Tebow continues to be about as accurate as Chuck Knoblauch throwing to first base.
During Denver’s three-game losing streak to end the season, Tebow’s completed just 41 percent of his passes, a stretch that includes a particularly atrocious Week 17 game against Kansas City in which he connected on 27.3 percent of his attempts. He’s also fumbled nine times over his last six games, losing five of them.
Combine the Messiah’s late-season play with Denver being outscored 88-40 since Week 15, and while it’s highly unlikely he’s pulled, if Tebow continues to trend downward it’s not overly outlandish or absurd to think that we could have a Quinn sighting Sunday, even if it’s in a very limited capacity in specific packages.
The odds of a Quinn appearance will increase if the Broncos are in a deep hole, a situation that requires throwing long, and throwing often.