Rave reviews for Couch

Tim Couch's fourth-quarter play this season has caught the attention of Butch Davis.

Couch has a 106.1 fourth-quarter passing rating, tops in the AFC. Couch's rating of 83.7 on third downs is second best in the conference.

Davis, an assistant coach for the Dallas Cowboys for six seasons, compares young quarterbacks to retired Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman. He thinks that Couch has unique qualities that will make him successful in years to come.

"Tim is his own guy," Davis said. "He is an unbelievable competitor. His competitiveness shows up in the fourth quarter. When the game is on the line, he rises to the occasion. That's kind of what superstars do. When their backs are to the wall, they find a way to win, and that's kind of the persona Tim is starting to develop."

The play of receiver Kevin Johnson is another source of pride for Davis. Johnson's name was mentioned prominently in trade talks with the Kansas City Chiefs a few weeks ago, but he now is a pillar on offense with 17 receptions for 195 yards and two touchdowns.

"One of the things all of our receivers are having to learn is that the previous offense did not stress a tremendous amount of route running in prototypical NFL routes," Davis said. "I'm not going to say that they didn't have a passing tree, but a lot of it was a vertical passing attack where you're just trying to run into dead areas more than trying to manipulate the defensive backs. "One of the things that Kevin can do is that he has one of the best set of hands I've ever been around. He's still learning how to move some of these people. The rest of his career, that's what he's gong to do."

Couch and Johnson were awarded game balls for their play on offense. Defensive game balls went to linebacker Jamir Miller and cornerback Corey Fuller. Long snapper Ryan Kuehl and punter Chris Gardocki received honors on special teams.

"It's hard to imagine anybody better than Chris," Davis said. "He has foot control with the ball like golfers have. He looks like a real good golfer with a sand wedge."

Defensive end Courtney Brown, who missed all four regular-season games with a sprained right knee, has been cleared to practice. Davis said that Brown's situation will be re-evaluated on a daily basis. He didn't indicate if Brown will be held out until after the bye on Oct. 28.

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