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BEREA Race against time: Browns pass two-minute test



Published: Thu, August 9, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Coach Butch Davis was pleased with the team's execution.

By JOE SCALZO

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

BEREA -- During the past two years, the Cleveland Browns' two-minute offense has produced plenty of frowns.

On Wednesday, it finally earned some smiles.

Browns quarterback Tim Couch hit running back Jamel White with a touchdown pass on a two-minute drill on the second-to-last drive of morning practice.

Moments later, backup quarterback Kelly Holcomb drove the team inside the 10 yard line, but threw an interception to defensive back Raymond Jackson to end the drive.

The drills earned raves from head coach Butch Davis.

Satisfaction: "That was far and away the two most impressive two-minute drills we've done," Davis said. "I was really proud of the way our guys competed."

Holcomb, who played for the Colts last season and is competing with Ty Detmer for backup duties, threw the interception on a first-and-goal play.

"Kelly made a mistake and he knows that," Davis said. "You never try to force a play to try to make a spectacular play on first down."

Couch, who complained of a "dead arm" this week, had a strong scrimmage against Buffalo last Saturday, hitting on 10 of 14 attempts for 119 yards. He will start against Green Bay in the team's exhibition opener Saturday at 8 p.m. at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

H-back Mike Sellers, who has earned raves during training camp, injured his knee in Tuesday's practice, allowing Aaron Shea to get most of the reps on Wednesday. Shea was banged up on Tuesday.

"Both those guys are a vital part of the success of this offense," Davis said. "They're a prototype of what we're looking for -- athletic, confident and can play like a wide receiver."

Couch had similar praise.

"I think they're both doing a great job," Couch said. "Mike Sellers is a great athlete. He's a guy we're going to use a lot in this offense. Aaron Shea helps in the passing game, creates mismatches on linebackers."

Rewarded: Davis was so pleased with Wednesday's efforts that he gave his players the afternoon off to go swimming.

The team will practice today and Friday, but the staff won't spend a lot of time studying Green Bay, Davis said.

Instead, the staff will focus on younger players trying to make the team -- especially those on special teams.

"It's the first time we've played live on special teams," Davis said. "You want to find out who can make plays and who can make plays in game situations."

Davis was the defensive coordinator in Dallas under Jimmy Johnson, who emphasized the need to win exhibition games. The ex-Miami Hurricane head coach said he is more concerned with watching the entire team.

"We want to play well. We're going to compete and play to win," he said. "Are we going to play our starters all four quarters? Certainly not.

"But we shouldn't have any unanswered questions about who the top [players] are."

Planning stages: Davis released a depth chart Monday and said the rotation will be similar to last Saturday's scrimmage against Buffalo.

Wide receivers Quincy Morgan, Bobby Brown, Darrin Chiaverini and Lenzie Jackson will get more playing time because of injuries to JaJuan Dawson, Kevin Johnson and Dennis Northcutt.

So far, Davis is satisfied with the team's growth during camp.

"I think we're on track," he said. "We've been able to back off when we wanted to back off and push when we needed to push. When we've backed off, the players have responded accordingly and I'm pleased with that."

scalzo@vindy.com




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