BEREA – Browns coach Butch Davis is taking stock of the Browns even before the season ends, and he's including himself in the analysis.
"I'll be the first to admit that this isn't the season that anyone envisioned," Davis said. "Nobody wanted this season to happen. As the head coach, ultimately it's my responsibility. It's my responsibility to play well and to win games.
"I recognize my own shortcomings and things I'm not doing well as the head coach. I recognize the things we're not doing well as a football team. We're going to do everything humanly possible we can to rectify things."
Davis will spend much of the off-season addressing questions on the offensive side of the ball. A decision has to be made whether or not to bring back quarterback Tim Couch. No one knows if running back William Green will be back next season because of off-the-field problems.
Davis would like to clear up the Couch situation as soon as possible after the season ends. Davis doesn't think it's fair to be overly critical in judging Couch and Kelly Holcomb because of issues surrounding them.
"Something as a coach I personally struggle with is how much blame you lay at the feet of somebody when you have some of the situations around them," Davis said. "How much of throwing an interception is due to pressure and sacks and getting hit and being forced out of the pocket.
"Maybe it is uncertain, but it has the potential to clear up once we fix the supporting-cast aspect of it. Solidify things to not having to fight from such a tough situation. We have to address the offensive line. It has to be a major part of the off-season."
LOCKER ROOM FRACAS: Davis confirmed that a fight took place between Quincy Morgan and Robert Griffith after practice last Friday. The two players became angry after what began as good-natured taunting following a two-minute drill. The situation carried over to the locker room.
"It got very competitive during our two-minute drill," Davis said. "There was a teasing, joking ‘we won, you lost' going back and forth and it escalated more than it probably should have. I talked to both of them immediately afterwards and they dropped it.
"As much as anything else, it's probably a combination of the frustration guys are feeling. If we win five of the last seven ballgames, they probably laugh about it and the issue never happens."
MORE WOUNDED: Offensive guard Paul Zukauskas suffered a sprained left knee in the second quarter against the Ravens and won't play Sunday in Cincinnati. Enoch DeMar replaced Zukauskas, but Davis indicated he might start someone else against the Bengals.
Defensive tackle Antonio Garay suffered damage to his left medial collateral and anterior cruciate ligaments. He'll wait until the swelling subsides before having surgery, which is expected to be about three weeks.
The Browns' injury situatuion has been well documented, especially along the offensive line. Davis plans to take a long look at the offseason conditioning program of strength and conditioning coach Buddy Morris.
NO HAPPINESS IN THE HOUSE OF JAMEL: Davis isn't quite certain why Jamel White's attitude has changed this season. White has refused media requests for interviews and clearly isn't happy with the way he's been used.
"He wanted a new contract, and he got it," Davis said. "We tried to include him and give him as many playing opportunities as we possibly can, putting him in a role that allows him to compete every single Sunday as either the back-up tailback or third-down back."