Brady Quinn's already got fans -- and Mark Kiszla -- drinking the Kool-Aid

New acquisition Brady Quinn is the Broncos' savior? Anyone who watched the former Cleveland signal caller's ineptitude during the Browns' 27-6 loss to the Broncos last season should have a hard time offering hosannas -- but that didn't stop a caller to KOA yesterday afternoon from mentioning Quinn in the same breath as (no, I'm not kidding) John Elway.

Even KOA host and voice-of-the-Broncos Dave Logan couldn't go there -- at least not yet. But Denver Post columnist Mark Kiszla comes unexpectedly close in a column whose first line reads, "When the Broncos make their next Super Bowl appearance, the starting quarterback will be Brady Quinn."

Which either proves that there's a helluva lot of Jack Daniels in the world or that Broncos boosters can get drunk on dreams of gridiron glory alone.

Kiszla's argument in favor of BQ? He "runs better than anybody who has played QB in Denver since Jake Plummer darted out of town and tends to float deep passes more often than you would expect from inspecting Quinn's 6-foot-3, 235-pound frame."

Oh yeah: Kiszla also says he's "a winner," based on his 25-12 record at Notre Dame under coach Charlie Weis, whose New England connections may explain why coach Josh McDaniels is so enamored with Quinn. Stroll through the Patriots' locker room and Joshie McD will fall in love with you, too.

Of course, that "winner" designation ignores Quinn's time with the Browns, during which he racked up some of the most mediocre statistics of any NFL quarterback: 184 completions in 353 attempts, for a completion percentage of (yee-ha!) 52.1 percent, with just ten touchdowns (and nine interceptions). Career passer rating: 66.8 -- only 1.3 points higher than JaMarcus Russell's.

Quinn's record as a starter last year was two victories, seven defeats. Some winner.

During the aforementioned KOA program yesterday, a listener who seemed less intoxicated by the Essence of Brady than the previous caller asked Logan if the acquisition of Quinn meant the Broncos wouldn't draft a quarterback -- and Logan said, in all likelihood, "yes." In other words, the team's choices under center will likely be between Quinn and Kyle Orton, who actually seemed to deserve the "winner" moniker during the first half of last season before the team crumbled under the heat of exceeding expectations.

That prospect apparently has some fans excited. From my perspective, however, such enthusiasm is only justified by changes on the defensive line, which does appear to have undergone a serious upgrade.

As for Quinn, I'm guessing there'll be a lot fewer comparisons of him to John Elway once the season starts.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts