During his season-ending news conference, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he would like to have a backup quarterback whose skill set was closer to that of starter
“We’ve talked a lot about that,” Carroll said. “It’d be nice to have another guy that might be able to be a factor that way. So there are some really good kids out there. We’ll see.”
Exit Matt Flynn, last year’s big free-agency addition who was traded to the Oakland Raiders last week. Enter Brady Quinn, a former first-round draft choice of the Cleveland Browns who agreed to contract terms on Tuesday after a workout and visit with the Seahawks on Monday.
Quinn’s NFL career hasn’t exactly followed the path that was anticipated after he won 29 games at Notre Dame, where he also threw 95 touchdown passes compared to 39 interceptions. Despite being a first-round draft choice, Quinn started 12 games in three seasons with the Browns – where he played under Carl Smith, now the quarterbacks coach for the Seahawks. Quinn was traded to the Denver Broncos in 2010, but did not play in two seasons when Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow were the starters.
Quinn, 28, signed with the Chiefs last March and ended up completing a career-best 56.9 percent of his passes (112 of 197) for 1,141 yards with two touchdown passes and eight interceptions while starting eight games. He became expendable when new coach Andy Reid traded for former San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith and also signed Chase Daniel, the backup to Drew Brees with the New Orleans Saints the past four seasons.
The Seahawks also had three other quarterbacks in on Monday: Seneca Wallace, who played seven seasons for Seattle after being a fourth-round draft choice in 2003 but was traded to the Browns in 2010; Matt Leinart, the 10th pick overall in the 2005 draft by the Arizona Cardinals after playing for Carroll at USC; and Tyler Thigpen, who has been with the Chiefs, Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills.
But Quinn’s mobility makes him a better match for what the Seahawks started doing after Wilson won the starting job last summer. The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Quinn has averaged 4.2 yards on 44 rushing attempts during his seven seasons in the NFL. Wallace also is a mobile QB, but he’s four years older than Quinn.
Wilson was especially effective running the zone-read in the second half of his rookie season, as he rushed for the most yards (489) by any quarterback in franchise history while averaging 5.2 yards on 94 carries. He also completed 64 percent of his passes (252 of 393) for 3,118 yards with 26 touchdown passes to tie Peyton Manning’s NFL rookie record. And Wilson often used his elusiveness to buy himself and his receivers time.
Carroll doesn’t see that changing, regardless of who the backup was going to be.
“We’re going to adapt it to the style that fits us and fits Russell, and the way he plays,” Carroll said. “It’s an exciting part of it. Tom (Cable, assistant head coach/offensive line coach) is really tuned into that. Tom and I have already had a really good time exploring the things that we have done and we’ll continue to do that and see how it all fits together.”
One of the pieces has changed, as Quinn is the backup to Wilson for now.