Owl: Divided, We Fall

When the wise Owl descends from the treetops with a message, we listen. This week, the Owl stopped by for a beer and a rodent, and let us know that he thought it was time for some of the team's leaders to start choosing their words more carefully...

It's time to put Jeff Garcia and Coach Butch Davis in the time out chair in their respective bedrooms and lock the door for a couple hours. Maybe it will make them think before they speak.

On Monday Davis was critical of Garcia's chuck-and-duck style of playing quarterback.

"When your quarterback gets hit and there's pressure early in the game, people can't panic and abandon fundamentals," Davis said. "If you're an offensive lineman you have to punch people in the mouth. You have to protect. The quarterback has to have confidence that the last time he got hit was an aberration.

"He can't be skittish. He has to sit in the pocket, let the routes come open and make the throws. The receivers can't cut their routes quick because they think the quarterback is under duress. All of a sudden, it doesn't time up with the route. Everybody has to chill out."

Easy for Butch to say. Nobody is trying to take his knees out on the sideline.

Call him bald, call him short, but don't call Garcia skittish publicly.

"I have no reaction to that," Garcia said. "Until (Davis) plays the quarterback position, he (can't) understand where I'm coming from."

Garcia confronted Davis and Davis laid the old ‘The media took the word out of context' trip on his quarterback. Hey, the Owl was there Monday, and he knows what he heard.

Davis was talking about any quarterback that leaves the scene of an accident before the accident occurs, but since he has only one quarterback it sure seemed like he was telling Garcia to stop the happy feet dance.

And what did Garcia expect, anyway. He has been moaning for two months now about not being on the same page with his receivers and the offense not being structured around his style. He deserves a little payback from the coach.

This team is so hard to figure out. One week they look like they have their act together and the next week it's like they've never seen a script. But the Owl knows one thing. This game coming up against the Bengals is The Grande Burrito.

Think about it. The Browns win and they're chillin' at 3-3 with the Eagles coming in a week from Sunday. Maybe they can sneak a win they don't deserve and scatter to their bye destinations happy.

But if they lose, it's Yipes, Stripes, watch out for pipes in the NFL cellar.

Losing would put the Browns at 2-4 with the Eagles next, and then after the bye they have to go to Baltimore, host the Steelers and the Jets, play in Cincinnati and then play New England in Cleveland.

They could be 3-7 and then what would the tension level be in the White Tower on Lou Groza Boulevard?

Davis said he and Garcia had a good laugh about the "skittish" remark. It's hard to imagine Garcia yukking it up.

It's hard to imagine everybody sticking together if the Browns don't start winning more consistently. The defense escaped criticism because the offense doesn't start scoring touchdowns until the second half and so far the defense has not been critical. The defense needs to stay that way, because to quote Abraham Lincoln, a locker room divided cannot stand.

"Every single person has to shoulder responsibility," Davis said. "It starts with us as coaches. If they can't do what we ask them to do, we have to stop asking them to do it. If they can, they have to do it well.

"It's easy to point the finger at the offensive line and say those guys stink. It's not always the offensive line. If there's a breakdown, it could be you declared the linebackers wrong. It could be a tight end involved in protection. It could be a hot receiver. Those are the things we have to fix."

Winning fixes everything. Sunday is a good time to start.

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