Position Battle Update

Our friends at TheInsiders.com have provided us with their thoughts on position battles on the Browns. This week's edition focuses on the quarterback competition between Couch and Holcomb, with some injury updates as well...

QUARTERBACK: Tim Couch wants the Cleveland Browns quarterback chase to be over sooner rather than later.

Kelly Holcomb says to just let it play out.

Is this the first crack in Couch's armor as he fights to keep his starting spot?

Not really, just understandable frustration at something that has been going on since January.

While watching from the sidelines with a broken leg, Couch suddenly found himself competing with Holcomb for a job he's owned for four years. Why shouldn't he get antsy about a decision, especially when he merely said he wants to know his role.

Holcomb, meanwhile, is getting the chance of his career. So why shouldn't he want it to continue?

Both players, though, expressed continued frustration at the barrage of questions they face every time they give an interview.

"It gets kind of monotonous," Holcomb said.

Holcomb even seemed put off by fans who chanted his name during a scrimmage against the Bills.

He called it "kind of odd."

Fans love the underdog, though, and Couch and Holcomb understand that.

In the scrimmage, Couch went against the Bills' starters and didn't distinguish himself. He also ran into some bad luck as Quincy Morgan dropped a pass down the middle he admitted he should have caught. Add that completion to Couch's day and the entire picture changes.

Holcomb, meanwhile, made the most of his chance. He faced Bills backups and looked very sharp. Holcomb threw the ball well and threw it all over the place. No matter if it was against backups, the offense seemed quicker and sharper.

No decision on the starting job came out of the scrimmage. That will wait until at least after the first preseason in Tennessee.

It will be interesting, though, to see which quarterback start. Not because it's important who starts, but because the general consensus was that Holcomb had an advantage facing backups. If that's true, it would figure he would start in Nashville and face the Titans starters.

NOTES:

  • If Tim Couch is not the Browns starter, he could be the highest paid backup in the history of the league. Couch's contract calls for him to make $6.2 million, which ranks as the third-highest quarterback base salary in the league and the fourth-highest salary (behind Peyton Manning, Mark Brunell and Warren Sapp). The base pay, though, does not take into consideration things like signing bonuses.
  • What did Butch Davis think about QB Kelly Holcomb facing backups? Not much. "I didn't pay attention to who they had on the field," Davis said. "I could care less. I'm watching our guys trying to make sure we're doing the things we're supposed to do. I didn't even look to see who they had out there."
  • Bills linebacker London Fletcher on the Browns quarterbacks in the scrimmage: "I think Holcomb looked a lot better."
  • Drew Bledsoe was impressed with the way the Browns quarterbacks are handling the situation. "It looked like they're approaching it with the best possible attitude," Bledsoe said. "You see them over there talking to each other and helping each other out on the sideline and that will only make their team better." Bledsoe is right. Couch and Holcomb have both shown a high level of professionalism since camp started.
  • QUOTE TO NOTE: "I just want to get this whole thing over with. I just want to know whether I'm the guy or not and get this thing going. That way we can start focusing on what's real important, and that's the other teams, instead of worrying about your position. Let's get it on and move on." -- Tim Couch, on the team's quarterback competition.

BATTLE OF THE WEEK: What else? Tim Couch-Kelly Holcomb for the quarterback job. Round one in the live competition went to Holcomb, who took better advantage of his opportunities in the team's scrimmage against the Bills. Couch had looked a tad better in practices, but Holcomb played better when it counted most. Round 2 comes in the preseason opener in Tennessee.

OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: Barry Gardner continues to hold off Andra Davis at middle linebacker, but if Davis keeps coming on like his coach says he is he should wind up the starter. ... First-round draft pick Jeff Faine spent his first week working with backups but should move in with the starters this week. That will move Shaun O'Hara to right guard. ... Steve Heiden has grabbed firm hold of the starting tight end spot by catching everything thrown to him. ... Michael Jameson has an opportunity at safety now that Robert Griffith is out with a broken finger.

INJURY REPORT: Little injuries are starting to mount. Wide receiver Andre Davis has been sidelined for a week with a knee injury, and said he was very concerned because there was a lot of fluid on the knee.

Tight end Steve Heiden missed the scrimmage with a pulled hip flexor. And safety Robert Griffith will be out about a month with a broken index finger. Griffith, who had a cast on up to his elbow, said he would not miss a regular season game.

The Browns also continue to bring Courtney Brown along slow. Brown spent his first week taking part in individual drills and some team drills without contact. He should step up his pace gradually as he returns from microfracture surgery on his knee.
 


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