Simply Scuttle-Butt

If healthy enough to play, Kelly Holcomb will be the starting quarterback for the Browns on Sunday against the New England Patriots.

• Holcomb led a Browns failed comeback attempt against the San Diego Chargers in relief of starter Tim Couch. ‘If healthy' could loom large for the Browns, as Holcomb was walking with a noticeable limp following the game, which slightly improved as of Tuesday evening.

Miami quarterback Jay Fiedler's sprained left knee may prove to be more bothersome that originally anticipated. While the team maintains the stance Fiedler is their ‘guy' in South Florida, indications are members from the offensive side of the coaching staff are anxious to see what backup Brian Griese can offer to a stagnant passing game which has failed to deliver as the opposition has loaded the box to stop running back Ricky Williams.

• Do not buy into the hype about the season ending departure plans of Washington Redskins head coach Steve Spurrier. Granted, Spurrier and team owner Dan Snyder have collided on some issues, nothing has remotely escaladed to the point where Spurrier has seriously thought of leaving. Now, if Spurrier is unable to get his offense back on track and prevent second-year quarterback Patrick Ramsey from being brutally beaten to a pulp, he may have no option.

• The attitude surrounding the San Diego Chargers greatly improved following the team's 26-20 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. A couple players we spoke with on Tuesday noted the pressure to win was getting to the team and there has been some subtle change in head coach Marty Schottenheimer since the start of the bye-week. Can you say that Schottenheimer lightened-up a bit and the team had a little fun in San Diego leading up to their victory in Cleveland?

• The bye-week could not have come at a better time for the Green Bay Packers. Injuries to quarterback Brett Favre (fractured thumb) and Ahman Green (sprained ankle) could have proven costly if a game were to be played on Sunday. The situation on Farve is not as alarming as you would believe with a fractured thumb. Indications are the injury sustained by Favre is a hairline fracture, which may slightly hamper the veteran, but if he takes a shot to the thumb, he could be lost for an extended period. Additionally, head coach Mike Sherman is getting some pressure due to the poor defensive team he has fielded again in 2003.

• Take this one to the bank. Chicago Bears' head coach Dick Jauron and General Manager Jerry Angelo will be looking for new homes following the 2003 season.

• League sources tell this columnist that former Dallas and Miami head coach Jimmy Johnson was a name that was bandied about in the off-season regarding open jobs, we now are hearing feelers have again been put out to Johnson about coming back to coach in the NFL.

• Don't worry about published reports lately concerning the coaching status of Kansas City head coach Dick Vermeil. Vermeil has been rumored to be on his way out of Kansas City when his contract expires at the end of the season because he has not been able to secure power in player personnel. Hogwash, we have been told, team General Manager Carl Peterson and Vermeil are on the same page and discuss at length roster moves to improve this Chiefs team. Now, if the Chiefs do win the Super Bowl, Vermeil may go out on top once again, as he did with the St. Louis Rams.

• Speaking of the Rams, any calling for the head of head coach Mike Martz is pointless. For starters, Martz's contract is too costly for the Rams to eat and we should mention the respect for Martz coming from the locker room has never been greater. Martz has helped his cause by showing signs of slowly abandoning the abundance of trickery he has been known for.

• As on NFC Scout tells this columnist: "Anyone who thinks the Dallas Cowboys are not for real is sadly mistaken. There is a reason other than wanting to coach again, which persuaded Bill Parcells to jump on the offer from Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones. The talent on the team was underachieving and his (Parcells') belief was from watching the team was they were miscast in their offensive scheme and were a team lacking direction, attitude, and identity."

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