BEREA - Jamir Miller's biggest hit this season came in the locker room Wednesday.
Miller, out with a torn Achilles' tendon, challenged quarterback Tim Couch to step up and become a total team leader.
"He has to become a little more vocal with the guys," Miller said. "He has to exert himself a little more because I'm not here. Somebody has to step up and take the slack. Teams go as far as their leaders take them."
Miller was considered the team leader prior to suffering the injury in the first preseason game this year. In his absence, Miller feels it's necessary for Couch to expand his leadership role beyond the offense.
"I know that he has to come over to the defensive side of the ball and talk to the guys as well," said Miller, who played with Arizona in his first four seasons. "I remember talking to (Cardinals quarterback) Jake Plummer, and I said, 'Look, we're going to play for you, as long as you don't throw us into the hole.' You have to have that (leadership) come back from the quarterback."
Miller made sure that his comments aren't misconstrued, but they couldn't have come at a worse time for Couch. He missed last week to rest a sore elbow, and early indications are that he won't play Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
"I lead by example. I play hard and stay here in the offseason and work out with the guys," Couch said. "There's a time and a place to get into guys' faces. I've done that before in the heat of a moment. Guys have coaches doing that to them. Some guys are different. Everyone has his own way of doings things, and that's just kind of the way I am."
Couch doesn't agree with Miller's suggestion that he needs to become involved with the defense in a leadership capacity.
"My thing is, I have a lot of stuff to worry about as far as being a quarterback and running my show instead of worrying about what the defense is doing," Couch said. "I'm pulling for those guys and I'm talking to them, but I can't go out of my way and try to get those guys fired up."
Miller thought Couch became better at being a leader last year, but there's a ways to go, in his opinion.
"It's not a situation where I'm attempting to bash Tim at all," Miller said. "I'm being careful about what I say so it's not perceived the wrong way. All I'm saying is, 'You know what? It's his fourth year, and it's time for him to grab the reins.
"I'm on IR (injured reserve). I can't do anything. I can't affect the outcome of any game. I can yell and scream and throw the crutches on the field. That's about all I can do."
FORGET IT: Linebacker Dwayne Rudd didn't apologize for his helmet toss of last Sunday, but he was forthcoming about the incident that cost the Browns a victory.
"I was totally wrong for what I did, and I deserved a 15-yard penalty," Rudd said. "Everything that happened, call it a fluke or whatever, but it was correct officiating. They (the Chiefs) should have had an opportunity to go down and kick a field goal like they did."
INJURY REPORT: Linebacker Ben Taylor (hamstring) and offensive tackle Ryan Tucker (knee) are questionable. Listed as probable are defensive end Courtney Brown (neck), Couch, safety Earl Little (ankle), defensive end Tyrone Rogers (neck) and H-back Aaron Shea (shoulder). Tucker didn't practice Wednesday.
Questionable for the Bengals are running back Brandon Bennett (ankle), defensive end Vaughn Booker (leg) and linebacker Canute Curtis (knee). Listed as probable are safety JoJuan Armour (ankle), quarterback Gus Frerotte (thumb) and receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh (groin).
NOT BAD: Davis felt the team practiced well in its fist extended session since the heart-breaking loss to the Chiefs.
"First you have to learn from it (Rudd's helmet toss), then you have to bury it and go on," Davis said.