Quinn's Next, Then the Rest

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The Ravens never cared who was going to be under center for the Cleveland Browns next Monday night, even though Browns coach Eric Mangini kept everyone in the dark until Wednesday evening.

But now that it is known that Brady Quinn will be starting at quarterback, the Ravens could potentially get the same player benched twice in the same season.

The last time these two AFC North rivals met, Quinn began the game but didn't make it out of halftime, as he completed only six of eight passes for 34 yards and one interception.

Since then, it had been former Raven Derek Anderson taking the snaps until a disappointing 42.9 completion percentage and 36.2 passer rating finally caused Mangini to make another switch.

"When I initially talked to Brady and we made the change, one of the things that I stressed to him was the importance of continuing to work at the same level he had been working at, and he'd been doing a lot of good things," Mangini said in a conference call with Baltimore media. "I think he's had some good weeks of practice. I thought he had an excellent week this past week during our bye practices, and I'm looking forward to him really taking advantage of this opportunity."

Where does that leave the Ravens?

Regardless of whether it was Quinn or Anderson, the Ravens know the Browns will not be an easy out.

Cleveland enjoyed an extra week to prepare and perhaps install extra nuances to its offense. The game will be played in the confines of Cleveland Browns Stadium. And the "Monday Night Football" atmosphere has not been kind to the Ravens, who own a 4-7 record in the prime-time matchup.

For the Browns, however, the last time they played a Monday-nighter, they defeated a previously-undefeated New York Giants team on Oct. 13, 2008.

"Whoever is in there, they're going to try to light us up. Last year, in the Giants game, [Cleveland] really lit those boys up on Monday night," said Baltimore linebacker/defensive end Terrell Suggs. "They went out there and had a game. But, we know that anytime you're playing at home, no matter who you're playing, you're going to want to defend it. So, we're expecting everything we knew.

"They had the bye week, the extra week off, to kind of do some new offense, get some new trick plays in there. So, we're just going to prepare for everything."

Quinn comes into the matchup having completed 46 of 77 attempts (59.7 percent) for 409 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.

He was inserted with three minutes left in Cleveland's most-recent loss, a 30-6 drubbing from the Chicago Bears.

"I think each quarterback, like any player in the league, has his own way of playing – just idiosyncrasies and things like that," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said. "But, they run the same offense with both those two guys. We've been preparing for the Browns' offense anyway. Knowing that Brady's in there, we've watched him a little bit more. But, you've got to watch their offense over the last three or four games, and Derek's been in there, so we'll be watching him as well."

Quinn may have some opportunities against the Ravens' pass defense, which has been exploited by several opposing quarterbacks this year. Baltimore has given up at least 224 yards through the air in five contests this year, losing four of them. The victory came on a career day for San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who racked up 436 passing yards.

The road does not get any easier after Quinn, as well.

Baltimore still has NFL Most Valuable Player candidate Peyton Manning on the schedule, in addition to Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger and Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers, who are ranked fourth and fifth in the league for passer rating, and the potentially dangerous Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears.

Still, the Ravens believe the answer to solving the quarterback puzzle is simple in theory.

"You make the play, or either they make the play," linebacker Ray Lewis explained. "It's an easy cliché, every Sunday. Either they catch the ball or you stop them from catching it. The game will never change, I don't care.

"It doesn't need to be a big-time quarterback."

Even though Quinn might not boast the gaudy stats as some of those signal-callers that battled Baltimore before and will come after him, the Ravens are not taking him lightly.

"He's young, but he's not a bad quarterback ," said safety Ed Reed. "He understands defenses and what they're trying to do, first and foremost. He has to go through some growing pains, I'm sure. They're in somewhat of a rebuilding process – not totally – but in that process, you want your young quarterback and first-round draft pick to get some reps. It's time for him."

 

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