The QB Competition Begins...

David Carducci brings us the first independent report from Berea on today's mini-camp. In his first report, David discusses the "competition" between Tim Couch and Kelly Holcomb. The QBs talked to the media, and David tells us what's happening on the field and what's being said in the locker room.

BEREA - The Cleveland Browns' quarterback controversy might be the talk of the town, but it doesn't appear to mean much in the team's locker room.

"I know one thing," said tight end Aaron Shea. "One hillbilly is going to be starting for us."

No matter who wins the battle between the high-profile, former No. 1 pick form Hyden, Ky. and the career backup from Fayettville, Tenn., the Browns are confident they will have a quarterback capable of winning games.

"That's really all that matters," said Shea.

Tim Couch and Kelly Holcomb both fielded questions after the morning session of the first day of mini-camp Tuesday, and the more they talked, the less their situation looked like the typical quarterback controversy.

There is no bad blood. There are no hard feelings. In fact, the Couch vs. Holcomb battle only looks like a positive situation for both quarterbacks.

Couch has no feeling of entitlement to the job he has owned since he was ordained the "franchise" quarterback in 1999.

"I don't think you should be given anything," said Couch. "I want to work for everything I get. If it is going to be a competition and they are going to open (the job) up, I'm ready for the challenge. If I go out and win the job, then hopefully it will make the guys respect me even more.

"I knew I had a battle because of the way Kelly performed when he played last year. He would make 95-percent of the (starting) quarterbacks in this league sweat a little bit. The way he came in and threw for 400-some yards in a playoff game is pretty amazing."

Couch is convinced he is capable of similarly gaudy numbers to Holcomb's 429 yards against the Steelers, now that he has one more year under his belt in the Browns' offensive system.

"I'm just trying to master this offense," said Couch. "This is my third year in the offense. I feel like I'm getting it down and understanding what it is we are trying to get accomplished ... I feel much more comfortable. Each year you go in with the same offense, you step up a couple levels as far as knowledge of the game."

Some quarterback controversies can polarize a locker room and a create a rift between the quarterbacks involved. That's not the case with Couch, Holcomb and the Browns.

"We've never sat down and actually talked about it," said Holcomb. "We know it's out there, obviously. We hear things sometimes and have a laugh about it. Sometimes it can be downright dirty, but you have to have a sense of humor and laugh about things."

Couch and Holcomb split time with the No. 1 offense during Tuesday's mini-camp. Couch spent the majority of the time with the first time in the morning, while Holcomb did most of the work with the starters in the afternoon.

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