Browns Inconsistency Baffling, Frustrating

The Insiders take a look at the strange 2003 Browns season, in which an inconsistent Browns team has made significant changes to the structure of the team.

The inconsistent nature of the 2003 Cleveland Browns continues to be a source of frustration to the team and its fans.

The Browns followed an impressive win over Arizona with another clunker of a performance at home in a 13-6 loss to Pittsburgh, a game in which the Browns failed to score a touchdown after getting inside the red zone four times.

Since the Browns returned to the field in 1999, they've gone 25-50. The last two years at home, they've gone 5-9.

The season now hangs in the balance, as one more loss would more or less end the team's hopes of returning to the playoffs.

The task ahead is far from simple.

The Browns have road games at Seattle, Denver and Cincinnati and home games against St. Louis and Baltimore.

Every one of the team's remaining opponents has a winning record.

In a normal season, these facts would be worthy of a shrug. After all, what can they do about the schedule but play the games? But this has not been a normal season for the Browns, especially recently.

In the past month, the team's leading rusher has been arrested and suspended amidst circumstances that have to send red flags about his future.

The leading receiver was released and in his first game in Jacksonville caught five passes for 77 yards.

The quarterback who started the season re-gained his job after the bye week and struggled in Kansas City before playing well against Arizona. But against Pittsburgh, Kelly Holcomb did little to make followers of the team feel secure about the position for the future.

Holcomb has yet to win consecutive starts.

The Browns have the fifth-ranked defense in the league, a fact that is lost in the team's 4-7 record.

But its offense lacks a big-time back now that William Green has been suspended, a true No. 1, big-play receiver and an offensive line that can power the ball in from the one-yard line (as evidenced against Pittsburgh).

Quarterbacks Holcomb and Tim Couch seem like interchangeable parts, and neither has really seized hold of the job.

A season that started with turmoil when several veterans were released in the off-season has yet to find a rhythm.

The Browns under Butch Davis have moments when they impress -- a 33-13 win at Pittsburgh, a 44-6 win over Arizona -- but they have games when they seriously disappoint their fans.

The result -- a 4-7 record, and one loss in Seattle away from dropping almost completely out of the AFC North race.

SERIES HISTORY: 15th game, with Seattle leading the series 10-4. The Seahawks won the last game between the two teams 9-6 in the first game of the Butch Davis era.


  • Frustration is setting in with some of the Browns players. Receiver Quincy Morgan lamented the mistakes he sees over and over from players.
    "It's been going on for two years," Morgan said. "On any given Sunday it could be me or another receiver or running back or offensive lineman, it's guys making little mistakes when they're not needed."
  • It's becoming interesting that Tim Couch does not see the field at all anymore. The Browns have $21 million in bonus money invested in Couch and $6.2 million in salary this season, yet he's hardly part of things anymore.
    During games, Couch usually stands to the side, away from the rest of the team. When he sits on the bench he looks almost lonely. His future with the Browns seems tenuous -- at best.
  • Does Couch have a future with the Browns? "Absolutely," said Butch Davis.
    "I'm of the opinion that you don't write anybody off about anything ever -- until there's no other alternative about anything," Davis said. "As far as I'm concerned right now he certainly has a future for the rest of the season and maybe into the future."

The OBR Top Stories