Archive for Saturday, August 2, 2003

Browns, QBs want decision on starter

Couch, Holcomb hope coach Davis makes move soon

August 2, 2003

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— Tim Couch and Kelly Holcomb wouldn't mind an answer -- soon.

After only one week of their overhyped quarterback competition -- Couch appears to be leading by a chin strap -- they wish Cleveland coach Butch Davis would name his starter.

"I just want to get this whole thing over with," Couch said. "I want to know whether I'm going to be the guy or whether I'm not. Let's get it on, and move on."

Holcomb, too, is eager to know if he'll remain a career backup or finally be promoted.

"It's kind of getting monotonous," Holcomb said while answering many of the same questions that have been posed to him since January.

The Couch-Holcomb affair has become the NFL's tightest and most-analyzed QB battle during training camp and figures to drag on.

"I think most of their impatience is predominantly directed to the inquiry from so many people who don't have anything to do with the decision-making process," Davis said. "I'm sure they're tired of talk shows and media people asking."

Davis, who decided to open the job when Holcomb threw for 429 yards while filling in for an injured Couch in the AFC playoffs, said he would name his starter no later than Cleveland's third exhibition game, Aug. 23 in Detroit.

Couch can't wait.

"It's going to be a long, couple of three weeks," he said. "Me and Kelly have talked. We can't wait until this is over and one guy is in and one guy is backing up, just so we know our role on the team. We'll try to stay patient through it all, and try not to get too frustrated."

Couch appreciates that Davis has a difficult choice to make. Although he'd love to be the starter and feels he did nothing to lose the job, he wants to win it fairly.

So far, Couch has had an impressive camp. He reported nearly 10 pounds lighter after spending the offseason working with a nutritionist and Browns strength coach Buddy Morris.

Couch is quicker once he leaves the pocket, and he's also making quicker decisions. One of the four-year veteran's downfalls in the past has been a tendency to hold the ball too long.

Couch said Browns coaches had liked what they saw.

"I feel confident in what I've done," Couch said. "I think they're pleased with how I've thrown. I'm picking up my reads quicker. Every day I'm just trying to go out and get a little better."

Davis said he would base his pick on performance, and would ultimately choose the quarterback he felt gave his team the best chance to win.

Couch says that's all he can ask for. And if the decision is announced tomorrow, next week or Aug. 22, that's fine, too.

"We all have faith in coach Davis," Couch said. "We believe he is the guy who is going to take us where we want to go. I don't want to second-guess him. If he thinks that's when it's supposed to be made, I'll agree with that."

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