Correction: Cowher told Lerner he has no interest in coaching AT THIS TIME. He HAS stated in the past that the Browns job is one he IS interested in. It could still happen...
Anyway, Tim Couch chimes in...I agree with him, and who would know better about having a career with potential destroyed by a numbskulled coaching staff?
Former Browns quarterback Couch defends Quinn and Anderson
By Marla Ridenour
Beacon Journal sports writer
POSTED: 06:22 p.m. EDT, Oct 01, 2009
BEREA: Former Browns quarterback Tim Couch believes that Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson can succeed in the NFL.
But perhaps not with the Browns, especially if the two are subjected to the same mishandling that he and Kelly Holcomb experienced six years ago.
Couch joined the ranks of former NFL players decrying the lack of talent on the 2009 Browns, winless going into the home game Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. And Couch thinks that way even while sticking up for coach Eric Mangini.
''You could put any quarterback on that team and he wouldn't be successful,'' Couch said in a telephone interview Wednesday night. ''It's tough to coach a quarterback in that type environment.
''They've got a good coaching staff; they're going in the right direction. Coach Mangini was pretty successful with the Jets. But he's in a tough situation, too. It's like Butch Davis and Chris Palmer when they took over, the talent level as a team wasn't there.''
The first overall pick in 1999, Couch splits time between homes in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Lexington, Ky., with his wife, Heather, and their two sons, Chase, 4, and Brady, 6 months. When it was suggested that his sons' names sound like quarterbacks, Couch said, ''That's what we were going for.''
While occasionally serving as an analyst for University of Kentucky football, Couch keeps up with the Browns through former tight end Aaron Shea. Couch is godfather to Shea's oldest daughter and visited the family in Westlake in August, attending a preseason game.
The 2007 season, when the Browns went 10-6 and fell a game shy of the playoffs, convinced Couch that his old team was finally breaking out of the doldrums.
''Derek Anderson went to the Pro Bowl, they had a good offensive line, Jamal Lewis was on a roll, they had good receivers, Braylon [Edwards] had a good year,'' Couch said. ''All of a sudden last year, they went backwards.''
While the team struggles to rebuild, Couch cautioned Mangini about going down the same road as Davis, who played musical quarterbacks with Couch and Holcomb in 2003.
Mangini started Quinn, the 22nd pick in the 2007 draft, for the first three games, but lifted him at halftime Sunday at Baltimore when the Browns trailed 20-0. On Wednesday, Mangini announced that he was installing Anderson as the starter this weekend, but he gave no indication how long Anderson's stint would last.
To Couch, that sounded reminiscent of what he and Holcomb went through in 2003. Holcomb started the first three games, then suffered what Davis deemed ''a teeny, tiny'' fracture of his right fibula at San Francisco. Couch took over for five games, but was replaced late in the third quarter against San Diego, then sprained his right thumb the following week in a start at New England. Holcomb was in command until Game 13 against St. Louis, when he was yanked after two second-quarter interceptions. He sat on the bench behind Couch the rest of the season.
The next year, Jeff Garcia took over at quarterback and Couch was out of football, suffering from a torn rotator cuff, bicep and labrum in his right shoulder. He said he tore his rotator cuff again when he was about to sign with Indianapolis in 2005.
Couch said Holcomb has visited him at his home in Kentucky and he plays in Holcomb's annual golf tournament in Murfreesboro, Tenn. They still discuss 2003.
''We talk all the time what a miserable situation it was and we only had to deal with it one season,'' Couch said. ''You almost had to play a perfect game to keep your job. As a quarterback, you can't say, 'If I have a bad game, I'm not going to be playing.' You've got to play loose. You can't do it with that on your mind, knowing you're going to be benched.
''It's a different position than any other position on the field. Once a coach starts going back and forth and the team is unsure, that's a bad situation. In my opinion, nothing ruins a locker room like a quarterback controversy. The team needs a guy they can count on. Once a quarterback loses his luster, being the guy, being the leader, gets pulled out of a game, it's a pretty tough situation in the locker room.''
Advice from Couch
Quinn is 1-5 as a starter over two seasons, Anderson 13-14. Couch worries that Quinn's benching could damage his confidence.
''It definitely does,'' Couch said. ''A couple bad games and all of a sudden the job is taken away ... you have to have good people around you to keep your confidence up. I've been there, I know what he's going through.''
Couch also feared the ramifications of the constant pounding that Browns quarterbacks take. Quinn was sacked nine times in the first two games and 10 times in three. But that's nothing compared to Couch, who absorbed 56 sacks as a rookie, 51 when he was healthy again in his third season and 166 for his career.
''David Carr had the same situation with an expansion team [Houston], he was beat to death,'' Couch said. ''You think you're going to be a great player, but once you start getting hit like that, you get a little gun-shy. It happens to everyone.''
Ironically, the Browns have the same quarterbacks coach, Carl Smith, that Couch did for the final three years of his five years in the NFL.
''He's a great football coach who has been in the NFL a long time,'' Couch said of Smith, starting his 20th season. ''He teaches the game really well, makes you understand it. He had an unfortunate situation, dealing with a team that's never been good enough to make a quarterback be successful.''
Couch said Anderson ''is certainly capable of getting the job done.'' And speaking from his painful experience, he had some advice for Quinn.
''Always believe in yourself and your ability,'' Couch said. ''Know you're good, you're put in a bad situation.''
Marla Ridenour can be reached at email@example.com
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