Decision Time Has Come

The deadline fast approaches. By this time next week, Butch Davis will have revealed who he feels should be the Browns starting quarterback. As the entire nation saw tonight, however, the Browns have other challenges that will be occupying Butch Davis' mind in the days ahead...

CLEVELAND - There are no more trials for Browns coach Butch Davis to worry about. Decision time has come.

After the Browns' 38-31 loss to the Green bay Packers Friday, Davis has to decide between Tim Couch or Kelly Holcomb for his starting quarterback. Holcomb seemed to take the lead with a stellar showing against the Packers.

Holcomb threw an 82-yard touchdown pass to running back William Green and a 14-yard scoring pass to tight end Steve Heiden. Green did most of the work on his score after catching a screen pass behind the line of scrimmage.

Holcomb completed seven of 10 passes for 166 yards.

Couch performed well in limited action. He led the way on a 10-play, 55-yard scoring march, capped by a strong 20-yard throw to Kevin Johnson for a touchdown. Couch called it a night after completing four of seven passes for 51 yards.

"I'm glad it's not my decision," Holcomb said. "I'm sure it's pretty tough. Every time both of us have been on the field, we've performed. I'm okay with everything. If I had gone out on the field to start training camp not knowing what to do, I would have been upset.

"Whoever loses the job, I don't think they lost a job. We both can play in the NFL. People know we can both move the team. We both can do what needs to be done. After that, you can't worry about it."

Couch says he has no gut feeling how the decision will turn out. He's prepared himself for both possibilities."

"I'm ready for whatever is going to come out of this," Couch said. "If I'm the starter, I'll try to go out and have a great start. If I'm not, I'll support Kelly."

Couch faced a pressure situation after following a solid showing by Hocomb.

"It was important for me to go out and get off to a good start," Couch said. "I wanted to keep the thing going the way it had been going to that point. We marched right down and scored a big touchdown. It was a big drive for us."

There are larger concerns than the quarterback situatuon. For the second straight week the defense struggled in all phases. It began when the Packers marched 78 yards on seven plays to open the game, capped by a 22-yard touchdown pass from Brett Favre to Donald Driver.

The Packers went three-and-out on their next possession, but Favre led the way on a 14-play, 79-yard march to end his night of work. The drive ended with a 1-yard scoring run by Ahman Green.

Davis was disappointed in the tackling.

"Defensively, I was disgusted," Davis said. "We didn't tackle with authority or efficiency. We had guys in position to make plays that could have got us out of any of those drives, and we just didn't make the plays. Two-or 3-yard gains turned into 7- or 8-yard gains. Move the chains and keep going. That part of it was disappointing."

After Favre's scoring throw to Driver, it took the Browns two plays to even the score, 7-7, on William Green's 82-yard reception. Following a Green Bay punt, Holcomb directed a nine-play, 74-yard scoring march. Holcomb was five of seven for 84 yards on the drive, including a 39-yard completion to Quincy Morgan.

Johnson's touchdown and Phil Dawson's point-after kick gave the Browns a 21-14 lead. Ryan Longwell's 33-yard field goal cut the Browns' lead to 21-17.

Green Bay took a 24-21 lead in the third quarter on an 8-yard touchdown run by Herbert Goodman. Nick Luchey scored on a 1-yard run for Green Bay before Nate Hybl threw a 7-yard TD pass to Billy Blanchard.

Akili Smith threw a 13-yard scoring pass to Goodman in the fourth quarter. Dawson ended the scoring with a 39-yard field goal.


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