QB Controversy Gathers Steam

It's here, it's big, and it's not going away for a while. "It" is a quarterback controversy, and fans can expect for it to continue to brew during the off-season. Also in tonight's news: Jamel White's contract, Fazio's friends to the defense, and a defensive leader tells Courtney to step it up.

BEREA - A quarterback controversy is in full swing, whether Browns coach Butch Davis likes it or not.

Kelly Holcomb's 429-yard passing performance in the playoff loss to Pittsburgh last Sunday has reporters and fans speculating on what might happen at the quarterback position in 2003. It would seem that Holcomb has to be given a fair chance at the starting spot.

"You don't lose your job because of injury," Holcomb said. "If he (Tim Couch) hadn't been injured, he would have been playing in that game. If he hadn't been injured, you guys (reporters) wouldn't be talking to me.

"I don't know about a controversy. It's just football. Until the coaches say anything different, that's what it is. That's reality."

Browns president Carmen Policy did little to squelch talk of a quarterback controversy during an interview Monday morning on WTAM radio. Asked about what might happen with the quarterback position next season, Policy said jokingly that he couldn't hear the talk-show host because of bad reception. 

Coach Butch Davis didn't joke about what he faces in dealing with the position in the offseason, but he didn't come out and say that Couch is clearly his man.

"What Kelly has proven is that we have two very talented quarterbacks. It's a lot better than having none," Davis said. "The quarterback situation is no different than any other situation. The best guy has to play, and the guy that gets the job done (has to play). One thing about this league is that it can't be about contracts, and it can't be whether you were a first-round draft choice or a free agent.

"The ultimate decision is that it's all about winning. It doesn't matter whether it's defensive tackle, quarterback, cornerback or linebacker. It's all about performance, and it's about playing."

Couch said that he expects to remain the number one quarterback next season.

"You have to prove yourself every game in this league," Couch said. "You can go out and have a couple of (good) games in a row, and then you miss a couple of games in a row and people don't think you can play in this league."

FOGE'S FUTURE: Rumors are circulating that defensive coordintaor Foge Fazio might be let go. If Fazio is fired, it won't sit well with some of the defensive starters. Strong safety Robert Griffith, who played for Fazio at Minnesota and here, doesn't think that Fazio should be a scapegoat.

"He's a good coach. Everything isn't what it seems to be," Griffith said. "He called a great game (against the Steelers). As players we have to take ownership in the fact we didn't get it done at the end. How do I put it? Some of the calls at the end, I don't think that's necessarily the way he would have wanted to call the game."

WE'LL SEE: Running back Jamel White could be playing elsewhere next season. His contract ends this year, which means, as a three-year veteran, that he'll be a restricted free agent.

"I've done things this year that I've proven that I can be an every-down back," White said. "I'm going to continue doing the things I've always done. Don't take a lot of the offseason off, and just get back to work in a week or two."

STEP IT UP: Cornerback Corey Fuller respects the talents of defensive end Courtney Brown, but he thinks the oft-injured three-year veteran needs to take the next step.

"It's good to be quiet, but we have to have that killer instinct around here," Fuller said. "That's what has been keeping us from winning X amount of games. The first (overall draft) pick should be a guy that can take over games by himself.

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