December 11, 2003

Browns Revolving Door

Couch is in, Holcomb is out. Seven times this season alone, Butch Davis has changed his mind as to who his starting quarterback is. I think this ESPN.com article put it nicely:

"The Browns haven't had a quarterback controversy this season. The revolving door has been a fiasco.."

Davis has demonstrated to the fans and to both quarterbacks that he really doesn't have confidence in either one of them to be "the guy". He has written the textbook on how not to handle a situation like this. But let's deal with where we are, since we all know where we've been.

Couch is the man of the moment, even though it's mostly because Holcomb has manifestly fumbled his golden opportunity. ("Intercepted his opportunity" just didn't work there.) As recently as a week ago, it was a foregone conclusion that Couch would be packing his bags after the 2003 season. You don't pay a backup QB $8 million a year, and Davis had long since signaled that Couch was not the favored candidate to be the long-term answer at QB.

But a couple of funny things have happened since Holcomb was declared the starter, and immediately began to unravel. With the monkey off his back, Couch seems to be playing with more confidence, and Davis, while loathe to ever admit he has been wrong about anything, now admits that he's just looking for someone...anyone, to play with some consistency. He'd settle for two weeks in a row at this point.

Now that it looks like Couch will finish out the season as the starter, the front office is singing a little different tune about his future here. For his part, Couch says he wants to be here, and would consider restructuring his contract in order to help make that happen.

I admit to having been caught up in the Holcomb hysteria, fed by the performance in the playoff game against Pittsburgh last year. The team just seemed to be crisper, and responded better to Holcomb at the helm. Suffice to say, I don't see that difference anymore. I doubt that anything of substance has changed in terms of Davis' opinion of Couch as the future of the team at QB. He's simply trying to play the cards he has been dealt. The team will look to sign a veteran in the offseason, and will probably draft a QB in '04 or '05. With a couple of new cards in his hand, lets hope Davis is a smarter player next time around.

More Cleveland Sports Notes:

How tough is Phil Dawson? The Browns kicker broke his arm making a tackle in the first quarter Monday night, but finished the game, kicking off three times and kicking a couple extra points. That got his teammates' attention.

Jacobs Field will feature a new scoreboard this coming season. The existing scoreboard is subdivided into three small screens, which are surrounded by banner advertising displays large and small. The new scoreboard will have one display screen, measuring 36 ft by 149 ft.

The Indians picked up a left-handed reliever yesterday, acquiring Cliff Bartosh on waivers from Detroit. Does it say something about your pitching staff when you are picking up guys who are waived by the worst team in baseball? Just asking.

Note: This entry has been cross-posted at Sportsblog. Check us out.

Posted by dan at December 11, 2003 12:53 AM