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Brady Quinn's smarts attracted Seahawks
When the Seahawks had four quarterbacks in for visits and workouts on Monday, the process to find a backup for Russell Wilson turned into a positional reunion for Carl Smith.
Smith, who’s entering his third season as the Seahawks’ quarterbacks coach and 24th as an assistant coach in the NFL, had previously worked with three of them. He coached Brady Quinn, who agreed to contract terms on Tuesday; and Seneca Wallace while with the Cleveland Browns in 2009-10. He also tutored Matt Leinart when both were at the University of Southern California in 2004. The fourth QB was Tyler Thigpen.
So why Quinn? Who better to ask than Smith?
“Brady is a pro,” Smith said on Wednesday. “He’s been on the field in games, won games in the league. He’s really bright. You give it to him one time, he’s got it. He can do it better than you told him. You’ll say, ‘Tell me what I just told you.’ And he’ll do it better than you told him.”
Quinn has had two stints as a starter since entering the league as the Browns’ first-round draft choice in 2007.
The first came with the Browns – and under Smith – in 2009. Quinn was 2-7 in nine starts, completing 53 percent of his passes (136 of 256) for 1,339 yards with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions as the Browns went 5-11.
“Brady can run a game in a game,” said Smith, who also has coached with the New Orleans Saints (1986-96), New England Patriots (1997-99) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2005-06) in addition to his two stints with the Browns (2001-03 and 2009-10).
“He can change protections. He can do the run calls. He could do that four years ago. He’s good out on the field. He knows what he’s doing.”
Quinn’s second starting stint came last season with the Kansas City Chiefs. He completed 57 percent of his passes (112 for 197) for 1,141 yards with two touchdowns and eight interceptions while going 1-7 in eight starts for a team that finished 2-14.
“I can see on tape from last year that he’s improved since ’09,” Smith said. “He’s a better passer. And that’s from his work. I just know it is.
“His best football is ahead of him.”
In between, Quinn spent two seasons with the Denver Broncos (2010-11), but never took a snap during a regular-season game.
“Still, he was on a team. He was practicing,” Smith said. “And if Brady is on a team, he’s working. He’s working on his game. He’s doing what they’re telling him to do; trying to find a better way.”
In addition to that work ethic, Quinn brings other characteristics that will blend well with what is going to be his fourth NFL team in seven seasons – second in the past two seasons, and third in the past three. Especially Wilson, who played beyond expectations after being selected in the third round of last year’s NFL Draft.
“Brady is a worker and really an intense competitor,” Smith said. “He’s also a good teammate. There will be no problems for Brady Quinn. He’s going to try and be as good as he can and he’s going to try and help the players around him.
“That’s just who he is.”
That work ethic transcends the practice field and meeting rooms for the 6-foot-3, 235-pound Quinn.
“He’s exceptionally fit,” Smith said. “Ridiculously fit. His body fat is in single digits, for sure.”
But it’s Quinn’s work habits, in addition to his football IQ and experience, which got him a spot in the Seahawks’ quarterback room that also includes Wilson and recently re-signed Josh Portis, the team’s No. 3 QB in 2011.
“It helps our whole group to have somebody that works that hard,” Smith said. “And Brady is a hard worker.”