Garcia 'getting it' as bye week arrives
Jeff Schudel / Staff Writer 10/25/2004
Quarterback starting to find his groove
As the bye week begins, Jeff Garcia feels better
about himself as the Browns quarterback than he
did when the season started Sept. 12.
Garcia completed 21 of 32 passes Sunday for 236
yards and a touchdown in a 34-31 overtime loss to
the Eagles. He was sacked three times, but he did
not appear as flustered as he has at other times.
And this was against a defense that in the three
games prior to Sunday allowed a total of 30
"I think in many ways this was my most complete
game as far as decision-making and being aware of
what we're trying to do as an offense," Garcia
said. "I made the throws when we had to adjust to
blitzes and gave our guys opportunities to make
plays. I believe in those ways I took a step in
the right direction."
Garcia was not satisfied since the Browns lost,
but he was talking about the big picture with
nine games to play. He said he told quarterbacks
coach Steve Hagen he's "getting it."
"That feels good," he said. "As long as I
continue to grow, this offense is going to become
more natural to me."
Garcia would like some passes back. Three times,
he tried to go long to Dennis Northcutt down the
right sideline when coverage was tight. One ended
in an interception, one fell incomplete and
Northcutt was called for pass interference on the
"There were a couple times I forced the issue,"
Garcia admitted. "We tried to stretch the field
at times. Dennis felt confident he could get on
top of the cornerback. You have to make quick
decisions. I think taking those shots downfield
opened up things underneath."
Garcia's quarterback rating was 84.9. Since his
disastrous 0.0 rating in the Dallas game, Garcia
has had ratings of 80.0 vs. the Giants, 112.2 vs.
the Redskins, 76.8 vs. the Steelers, 115.5 vs.
the Bengals and the 84.9 Sunday.
King for a quarter
Andre King on Sunday made just the second start
of his NFL career. He caught one pass for 5 yards
in the first quarter. As he broke the huddle for
the next play, he fell to his knees in obvious
pain. He was helped from the field by trainers
and did not return. The Browns announced King has
a sprained ankle.
Not the plan
The injury to King meant Coach Butch Davis had to
find another kick returner. It was a case of pick
James Jackson, the running back who had been
inactive three straight weeks, took the first
kick after King was injured. He fielded the ball
at the Eagles' 21, returned it 23 yards and
fumbled. The Eagles recovered but didn't take
advantage of the takeaway because Andra Davis
intercepted a pass thrown by Donovan McNabb.
"He's been the backup and emergency third kick
returner for the four years he's been here,"
Davis said. "He works in practice like everyone
else. There's no way to predict when someone will
be injured. He works on the scout team from time
to time. When someone gets injured and you can
suit up only 45 guys, it's a short list of people
who are talented enough to return kickoffs."
Jackson said he hadn't returned a kick since his
days at the University of Miami, and he didn't
start practicing returning kicks until Thursday.
Still, he took full blame for the fumble.
"I haven't had practice at it, but that isn't an
excuse," he said. "I caught the ball. I was
carrying it in my right hand like a loaf of
bread. It wasn't high and tight. I have to bounce
back and work on my fundamentals."
Frisman Jackson fielded a punt in the fourth
quarter after the Eagles regained the lead - and
fumbled. The Eagles converted the takeaway into a
Dee Brown returned kicks five of the first six
weeks, but he was waived Wednesday because the
Browns needed another roster spot for a receiver
because of André Davis' toe injury. With Brown
gone, Davis injured and King injured, Butch Davis
had only James Jackson and Frisman Jackson to
Sign in, please
Very few bed-sheet banners have been hung at
Cleveland Browns Stadium in the five-plus seasons
of the Browns' new home. But Terrell Owens' mouth
(and success) brought out creativity in a couple
fans. A banner hanging in the northeast corner of
the lower deck read "T.O. has B.O."
Owens scored his first touchdown of the game in
the Dawg Pound end zone and whipped the football
at the sign. That drew the attention of the NFL
office in New York watching the television feed
A league official called the NFL observer in the
Cleveland Browns Stadium press box and said the
league wanted the sign taken down, but left the
decision up to Browns Stadium officials.
The sign remained. So did one on the wall beyond
the west end zone reading: "T.akes O.ne to know
one," which showed a picture of Owens and a rat.
The reference was to a verbal jab Owens took at
Garcia in August.
Antonio Bryant's debut as a Brown was a quiet
one. He caught two passes for 26 yards. Tight end
Aaron Shea led the Browns with six catches for 45
yards. ... Phil Dawson connected on a 38-yard
field goal in the second quarter. He has been
successful on 24 straight attempts, a Browns
record. ... Once again, the Browns finished on
the short end of the takeaway battle. Each
quarterback threw one interception, but the two
kickoffs the Browns fumbled were the difference.
... The Eagles were penalized 11 times for 101
yards. The Browns were flagged 10 times for 80
yards. ... The Eagles won despite converting only
2 of 10 third down plays. The Browns were 9 of 16
on third down. ... The Browns had more first
downs than the Eagles (27-23) but the Browns were
outgained by nearly 100 yards, 488 to 394. ...
The Browns won, 34-17, last week. It is the first
time they have scored 31 points in back-to-back
games since 1987.