Browns Report Card vs. Rams

TheInsiders offer their view on how the Browns did last Monday night, complete with grades and and update on Tim Couch...

In light of Monday night's loss to the Rams, Tim Couch probably will get one more chance to revive his career in Cleveland -- and to audition for other teams looking for a quarterback.

Couch no doubt will start the final three games of the season.

Kelly Holcomb basically has played his way out of the quarterback job with his play the last three games.

Since throwing for 392 yards against Arizona, Holcomb has thrown one touchdown pass and five interceptions while the Browns scored one offensive touchdown in 10 quarters.

Holcomb's last two turnovers essentially gave the Rams a 26-20 win. Aeneas Williams returned one for a touchdown and one to the 20 to set up another score.

Couch brought the Browns back to a six-point deficit, but could not finish the job as his last two chances to win the game ended after three- and four-play drives.

Couch keeps saying he wants to be back in Cleveland next season, but to do that he he'd have to agree to redo his contract, which calls for him to earn $7.6 million in 2004. Couch also says he knows he's auditioning for other teams as well.

He'll play somewhere next season -- and in the final three games of the season he'll have a chance to show he deserves to play.


REPORT CARD VS. RAMS

PASSING OFFENSE: D -- Kelly Holcomb's two interceptions late in the first half cost the Browns the ball game. Holcomb locked onto two different receivers and telegraphed throws that Williams easily read and picked off. Those interceptions basically cost the Browns the game.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- Jamel White came out of hiding to average 6.3 yards on his 16 carries. White ran extremely well and showed he should not have been hidden so long during the season.

PASS DEFENSE: B --0 Several times this season the Browns have been challenged by some of the top receivers in the league and responded well. They were challenged yet again by Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce and again responded well. Holt and Bruce combined for 62 yards.

RUSH DEFENSE: C -- Marshall Faulk ran for 102 yards, but had to run 24 times to get it. The Browns defense operated the way it wants to -- by bending but not breaking. The Rams' two touchdowns were both courtesy of interceptions of Kelly Holcomb.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- Phil Dawson showed amazing toughness by playing most of the game with a broken arm, and Dennis Northcutt and Lee Suggs provided some good field position on returns.

COACHING: C -- Give the Browns staff credit for having the team ready to play in a difficult situation. At 4-8, the Browns had nothing to play for but competed through the game -- even when they fell behind by 16. But the team's continuing quarterback muddle -- Holcomb in, Holcomb out, Couch in, Couch out -- remains an ongoing problem.
 


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