Booty Leaves, Holcomb Speaks

Mike McLain reports on the days events in Berea. Here's a recap of the items we've been covering, including the waiving of Josh Booty, Barry Stokes ankle problems, and the signing of Craig Osika. Mike also reports on Kelly Holcomb's remarks to the press today, and how the Browns starting quarterback is looking at the offensive problems...

BEREA – Coach Butch Davis' rationale for waiving Josh Booty was the lack of importance a third quarterback has on a team.

Davis quoted statistics that show the few number of times a third-string QB plays.

Booty was informed of the decision Tuesday via a phone call from Davis. The two met in Davis' office later that evening.

"I'm sure he was (upset)," Davis said. "I explained to him that it had absolutely nothing to do with Josh Booty. It's one of those unfortunate situations that it's a position on everybody's team and everyone thinks they have to have one, yet statistically they never go into a game."

The Browns filled Booty's spot by signing offensive lineman Chris Osaka, who was waived by San Francisco Aug. 31. Osaka spent most of last season on the 49ers' active roster after being signed off San Diego's practice squad.

"The pool of players that's going to be out there as the season goes along will dwindle," Davis said. "You have to take your opportunities to build your depth."

HOLCOMB TAKES THE BLAME: Quarterback Kelly Holcomb took the lion's share of blame for the poor offensive performances to date. Until Wednesday Holcomb hadn't accepted any blame.

"The bottom line is that I stunk," Holcomb said. "I didn't play well last week, either. There were receivers open, and the offensive line did a great job of blocking. I didn't make the plays.

"There were plays out on that football field after watching the film. If you just go through your reads and your progressions, you have guys open."

Receiver Kevin Johnson defended Holcomb. Admittedly surprised at the slow start, Johnson said that each player can improve his game.

"I've always told people that you're never as good as you seem, and you're never as bad as you think you are," Johnson said. "People had high hopes that our receivers were going to be running around the field. C'mon man, who are we kidding? There are a lot of good people out there.

"We're very good. We've been doing our jobs, let's not mistake that. (But) everyone has said that ‘I could have done that better.' It's tough out there. You just have to execute and make plays."

BARRY STOKES UPDATE: Offensive lineman Barry Stokes was limited in his work Wednesday. Stokes suffered a high ankle sprain last Sunday but was able to continue. He vows to play Sunday against the 49ers.

"You're expected to play when you're hurt," Stokes said. "I don't think it's a big deal."

Davis said that Joaquin Gonzalez would start if Stokes can't play.

Stokes was wearing a high ankle boot in the locker room. Prior to practice he was fitted for a brace.

INJURY REPORT: Browns cornerback Michael Lehan is questionable with a hamstring pull. Listed as probable with Stokes are cornerback Lewis Sanders (shoulder) and linebacker Ben Taylor (ankle).

Out for the 49ers are tight end Eric Johnson (clavicle) and cornerback Jason Webster (knee). Offensive guard Eric Heitmann (ankle) is doubtful. Questionable are offensive tackle Derrick Deese (ankle) and cornerback Rashad Holman (groin). Probables are receiver Arnaz Battle (knee); offensive tackle Scott Gragg (ankle); running back Garrison Hearst (groin); centers Dwayne Ledford (shoulder) and Jeremy Newberry (ankle/quad); linebacker Julian Peterson (groin) and guard Ron Stone (foot).

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