Questions heading into training camp

Updated: July 24, 2003, 11:48 AM ET
By By Ryan Early | NFL Insider
The opening of training camps signals the beginning of a new football season. This is the time for peering into the crystal ball and making bold predictions about what will unfold in the months ahead. But there are questions surrounding several teams that cloud over visions. How can we see if the Browns will improve on their surprise playoff appearance last year when Butch Davis won't even tell us who will be named as their starting quarterback? Then there are the players who finished last season injured. Most have reported that they have worked hard in rehab and are ready for the new season. Will they look as good after their first practice with pads? And what about all of the potential holdouts this year?

Will it be Tim Couch or Kelly Holcomb as the Browns quarterback?

We've heard a lot of different things out of Berea, Ohio after Holcomb came off the bench last year for an injured Couch on two separate occasions and outperformed the former No. 1 pick each time. First, we heard it was going to be an open competition. Then, that the starting quarterback job was Couch's to lose. Now that it will depend on preseason performances with a final decision to be made by the third exhibition game. Our bet is that Couch will start the season under center. The team is stuck with Couch and his contract, and doesn't want to admit that it screwed up the top overall pick in the draft, as well as all of the money they have thrown at him. It is in the heat of the action that Holcomb really shines, where his reading of defenses and accurate passing becomes so apparent. In the safer confines of practice and exhibition, the coaches can talk themselves into believing that Couch is the superior player. Whether he stays the starter once the season begins is another matter. Couch was removed from the lineup twice last year because of injury, and the changes made to their offensive line in the offseason has made them a worse pass blocking unit.

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