Cleveland's sluggish offensive start has caused observers to question whether
Jeff Garcia is the best fit for the Browns' offense.
In their comments to reporters, Garcia and coach Butch Davis have always
been on the same page. That may be changing as the team prepares for
intrastate rival Cincinnati at home on Sunday.
On Monday, when analyzing his team's offensive problems in last week's loss
to Pittsburgh, Davis faulted the offensive line and receivers. He did not
exempt Garcia from criticism.
"The quarterback has to have confidence that the last time he got hit is an
aberration," Davis said. "You can't be skittish. You've got to sit in the
pocket and make your throws and let the routes come open."
On Wednesday, Garcia didn't look pleased when asked about Davis' remark.
"I don't have a reaction to that," he said. "Until he plays the quarterback
position, then he can understand where I'm coming from."
He meant "can't."
Davis tried to shift blame for the mini-controversy on the media.
When informed Garcia didn't look happy with the "skittish" comment, Davis
said, "He probably shouldn't have been. That's very typical when someone in
the media takes one word out of 12 paragraphs and paraphrases it and it's
taken out of context.
"Jeff and I laughed about and talked about it. When a quarterback thinks
he's got protection and the protection doesn't hold up and you get hit, you
will get skittish. That's no reflection on him. That's a reflection on every
Garcia acknowledged he did rush a couple of times against Pittsburgh by
throwing or scrambling before a play had a chance to develop.
Garcia is candid about the fact he doesn't have full command of Cleveland's
offense or that he and his teammates have sometimes been out of sync. For the
most part, Browns receivers have not adjusted their routes well when Garcia
has scrambled, which is a big part of the quarterback's game.
"The scramble drill is part of the game," Garcia said. "That's going to
happen anywhere from 5-8 times a game. You're going to have to buy time as a
quarterback, adjust routes (as receivers).
"We worked on those things in San Francisco. We worked on those things just
about every day in practice. Maybe that's something we need to focus on a
little more here because of the type of player I am."
Garcia remains optimistic the Browns' offense will begin clicking.
"When you look at game film, you see opportunities that are left on the
field that we need to be able to take advantage of," Garcia said.
"It's not like we're a bad team. It's not like we're a terrible offense.
The plays are there to be made. It's just a matter of the players stepping up
and making the plays, and that's me included."
SERIES HISTORY: 62nd meeting. The Browns lead series, 32-29, including
19-11 at home. Cleveland has won four of the last five games.
- In the history of the Browns-Bengals series, Cleveland has outscored
- The Browns have won their first two home games. They have not been 3-0 at
home since 1973.
- Two of Jeff Garcia's three best passing games have come against the
Bengals. In two career starts against Cincinnati, Garcia (then with San
Francisco) threw for 437 yards on Dec. 5, 1999 and for 344 yards on Dec. 14,
- Lee Suggs will be happy to see the Bengals again. After missing most of
his rookie 2003 season recovering from shoulder surgery, Suggs ran for 186
yards against Cincinnati in the season finale, knocking the Bengals from
- If Andre Davis can follow his 101-yard receiving performance from last
week with another 100-yard game, he would be the first Browns receiver since
Webster Slaughter in 1989 to have consecutive 100-yard receiving games.
- Phil Dawson extended his consecutive field-goal streak to 21 last week by
kicking three field goals against Pittsburgh. He has the longest current
streak in the NFL.
- Cleveland has outscored opponents 37-15 in the fourth quarter this season
but have been outscored 31-13 in the first quarter. The Browns only touchdown
in the first 15 minutes came on an interception return by Chris Crocker last
week against Pittsburgh.
BY THE NUMBERS: 262.6 -- The Browns' total offensive yards per game, which
is next-to-last in the NFL.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Go sit in the freezer? I don't know." -- QB Jeff Garcia
when asked what Butch Davis meant when he said the Browns were pressing too
much on offense and had to "chill out."