The Owl: Scramble Away

The Owl's eyes have seen a lot of players over the years, and he has seen them come and go. As the Owl circles Berea, he has been keeping an eye on the team's three-time Pro Bowl quarterback and has reached an important conclusion...<BR>

Jeff Garcia should be sent to bed without any dinner. At the very least, his mom should shorten his television time and restrict his phone use.

That's how the Owl does it when one of his baby birds whines.

Garcia has been a pain in the ass for the Browns for six months.

Garcia started moaning in training camp about how the offense hadn't been tailored to him. Well excuse us, but that isn't the way it works. And the injury to Garcia is a perfect example why.

Remember, The Owl has been circling the Browns since they practiced at Baldwin Wallace College, long before Bill Belichick coached the team. Belichick found players to fit his system. He reasoned that if he adapted the system to fit a player, he'd be up the creek without a playbook if the player got hurt.

It didn't make sense at the time, but in retrospect he is exactly right.

So now here is Garcia, injured, and he has a great chance to be a team player and help Luke McCown. But what does he do? Last week interim coach Terry Robiskie tries to raise the passion of his team by asking all the team leaders to stand. He told them to grab someone to follow.

"I'm going to dig a hole to hell and fight the devil," Robiskie told his players.

More than 20 players stood up. Garcia stayed in his seat. That is inexcusable for a starting quarterback. It is worth wondering whether Garcia would have stood if he were not injured. He missed the last two games with a shoulder and won't start Sunday against the Bills.

Robiskie told his players he would not hold anything against anyone that did not stand. But the starting quarterback, Mr. three-time Pro Bowler? Gimme a break!

"A lot of guys sit back and say, ‘I'll lead by example,'" Robiskie said. "You say the starting quarterback should have stood up. I think the starting cornerback in Anthony Henry should have stood up. I think the starting fullback (Terrelle Smith) should have stood up.

"Certain guys lead by example. I don't know if (Garcia) should have or shouldn't have stood up. The fact he has been vocal and made a couple statements doesn't necessarily mean he's a leader."

There's more to this guy not doing his job to the fullest.

Tuesday is the player's day off. Many show up at the facility anyway. Some arrive to have injuries treated, some to work out, some because the complex is a second home and some because they want to study for the next game. In this case, that means studying film on the Buffalo Bills.

Garcia was not in Berea Tuesday. He should have been. The veterans are supposed to show the young pups how the job is done, but Garcia wasn't there to help McCown, at least not Tuesday. There might have been some extenuating circumstances, but if there were, no one knows about them.

The safest bet in town is Garcia won't be back with the Browns next year. Good riddance. The Owl thought in the beginning Garcia was a bad match with the Browns. Then he stupidly thought, ‘Hey, this is going to work out. It just took a little time.' That was right about the time Garcia played well in back-to-back games against the Bengals and Eagles. First impressions are the most accurate in this case.

We won't go into the crap Terrell Owens said about Garcia's lifestyle off the field. But looking back, Butch Davis should have listened when Owens said Garcia is washed up as a football player.

And Davis should have listened to his advisors when they told him they were making a mistake giving Garcia a four-year, $25 million contract. The deal included a $5 million signing bonus. Garcia is supposed to make $4 million next year.

If I'm the next head coach – first off, I'd be dumbfounded – then after recovering from my dumbfoundedness I put Garcia on the first plane back to California and tell him I don't want to see his bony face again.

The Browns were stuck. They needed a veteran quarterback because they didn't know whether Kelly Holcomb would be back from shoulder surgery. The pickings were slim – Mark Brunell, A.J. Feeley, Garcia or Kurt Warner.

Brunell is on the bench in Washington. Warner is on the bench in New York with the Giants. Feeley is starting for the 2-10 Miami Dolphins.

Maybe the Browns got the best quarterback. But he was not the best choice for this team.

The OBR Top Stories