QB Controversy Brewing?

Butch Davis refused to name Jeff Garcia next week's starter following Sunday's 24-10 loss

CLEVELAND – It appears that the issue of the starting quarterback for Sunday' s game agsinst the New York Jets is up in the air.

Asked after the 24-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers if Jeff Garcia would start next week, coach Butch Davis said on WTAM that those decisions aren't made immediately after a game.

With Kelly Holcomb being inserted into the lineup midway through the fourth quarter against the Steelers, speculation is that a quarterback controversy could be developing.

Holcomb tried to silence conjecture. "I don't think it opens the door," Holcomb said when told of Davis' post-game remarks. "Jeff is the quarterback. That's the bottom line."

Garcia was critical of the lack of pass protection he's been given, among other things. He said that it might be wise to re-consider what the strengths of the offense are at this point.

"There comes a time when you have to realize that maybe for some reason that it's not the strength of this team," he said. "Obviously, you have to have balance, but you can't become predictable on the field. At times, there's too much predictability in what we do, and that's why Pittsburgh was so effective in their blitz schemes because they've seen it in eight previous games.

"We need to create some element of surprise in what we do. We can't continue to bang our head against the wall."


OFFENSIVE DELAYS: The inability to get plays called quick enough was a problem again. The result was the need to call timeouts on back-to-back plays midway through the third quarter.

On the first play, quarterback Jeff Garcia simply didn't have enough time to call the signals before the 40-second play clock expired. On the next play, Garcia signaled tight end Aaron Shea to move in closer to the tackle after he split out wide. When Garcia wanted a player to go in motion, there wasn't enough time left, forcing the use of the second timeout.

"It makes it difficult because we definitely don't show ourselves as being a crisp offensive group. There are too many mistakes. Too many things are holding us back. Too many things aren't allowing us to get into rhythm during games. "

Coach Butch Davis defended the use of the timeouts. "I'd rather take a timeout than run a bad play and have another turnover," Davis said.

GAME NOTES

  • Richard Alston has returned the opening kick off 93 and 74 yards in the last two games. The returns are the longest in back-to-back games in Browns' history.
  • Kicker Phil Dawson kicked a 31-yard field goal in the first quarter to extend his streak of consecutive successful attempts to a league-high 27. Dawson has made a field goal in all nine games.
  • Linebacker Chaun Thompson registered his first career sack when he took down Ben Roethlisberger in the second quarter. Free safety Chris Crocker also recorded his first career sack, with his coming in the third quarter. The sacks were the first two registered by players other than linemen.
  • The Browns are credited with two of the six interceptions thrown this season by Roethlisberger. Crocker returned an interception for a touchdown in the first game. Daylon McCutcheon had an interception on the Steelers' second play from scrimmage Sunday.
  • Defensive back Lewis Sanders injured his right wrist in the third quarter. He was taken off the field for X-rays but returned to the sideline in uniform.

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