The Great Quarterback Mystery

The mood has become even more secretive than normal in the halls of Berea and the identity of Sunday's quarterback is a heavily guarded mystery. Those who know all have cyanide capsules built into their teeth in case they're captured by the media.<P>Also, Wohlie and McKinnie updates, and more injured players than you could bowl over with a flying orange helmet. Here's Mike with the very latest from Berea.

BEREA - If you can figure out which Browns quarterback will start against Tennessee, your prize is in the mail.

Coach Butch Davis, who's shut down most of practice time to the media, is closely guarding the issue. Tim Couch worked with the first team Wednesday, but Davis gave no clear indication what will happen on Sunday.

"Everybody is practicing, and everybody is working good," said Davis, who wasn't in a mood to answer the questions of reporters after Wednesday's practice. "I'm not going to get into who threw; who did good; who practiced and all that kind of stuff."

Couch has a different view on the subject. He said his right elbow feels fine. He's preparing to start for the first time this season.

"This is what we had set," Couch said. "I wanted to be back for Cincinnati. I thought that I would be, but it didn't work out that way. We accepted the plan, and hopefully it was a smart decision."

The plan Couch referred to was put into place after he was examined two weeks ago by nationally-known orthopedic surgeon James Andrews of Birmingham, Ala. Andrews prescribed more throwing and close monitoring of pain after each workout.

Couch said last week that he felt minor pain but not bad enough to keep him sidelined. He threw Sunday in preparation to be the second or third-string quarterback but didn't throw Monday or Tuesday. How he bounces back today after Wednesday's practice will be critical.

"If we decide that Tim is the starting quarterback, we've decided in three days of practice that he's 100 percent," Davis said. "It's no different than putting a corner out there that has a bad knee or a bad ankle. If he can't cover the other team's best receiver, then you're doing a disservice to the team.

"Pride and ego aside, Tim is no different than anybody else on the team. He has to do the things we think he has to do to win the game."

GETTING ANTSY: Browns rookie offensive tackle Joaquin Gonzalez keeps in almost daily contact with Bryant McKinnie, Minnesota's unsigned first-round draft choice. Both played for Davis at the University of Miami.

Gonzalez said that McKinnie is getting anxious to return to the sideline. Gonzalez knows that McKinnie would like to play for Davis.

"There's no question," Gonzalez said. "The way coach Davis has players believe in his organization, he'd love to be back here."

NOT SURE: Center Dave Wohlabaugh isn't certain if he'll be ready to go Sunday. Wohlabaugh broke a bone in his right hand last week. He practiced snapping with his left hand Wednesday. He also did work at right guard.

"Both of them have their potential problems," Wohlabaugh said. "I haven't looked at guard. It's a different technique, so it will be harder on me. Mentally, center would be easier. I'd be limited in what I can do."

INJURY REPORT: Defensive end Courtney Brown is listed as questionable with a neck injury. Brown missed last Sunday's game despite being cleared by doctors to play. Brown indicated on Sunday that he would play against the Titans.

Also questionable are safety Chris Akins (groin); offensive linemen Roger Chanoine (knee), Ryan Tucker and Wohlabaugh; quarterback Tim Couch (elbow), and tight end Aaron Shea (shoulder). Linebacker Ben Taylor (hamstring) is probable.

Tennessee running back Eddie George (foot) and quarterback Steve McNair (neck) didn't practice Wednesday, but Titans coach Jeff Fisher expects them to play. George went to an emergency room Sunday night complaining of pain. McNair suffered a minor concussion when he ran into a sideline bench during a game against Dallas.

Also for the Titans are cornerback Andre Dyson (hamstring); linebacker Randall Godfrey (ankle); tight ends Erron Kinney and Shad Meier (ankle), and defensive tackle Robaire Smith. Running back Robert Holcombe (hip) and defensive end Jevon Kearse (foot) are out.

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