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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Take Tim Couch off the BUST list

I love that over the last few years Tim Couch has come back to the UK program and made himself a presence in Lexington once again.  He is a really good color commentator and despite being a former UK quarterback, seems to bring a very reasonable approach to analyzing the game for Kentucky.  But almost 100% of the time, Couch and word “bust” are placed side by side when you talk to fans outside of this fanbase.  Now, I don’t mean to argue that Couch was some kind of top tier NFL quarterback, because his 5-year career was not astounding.  But, I am amazed at how Couch is usually heralded as Exhibit 1B (with Ryan Leaf) as what the word “bust” truly means.  Off the top of my head, here are the QB’s that I consider busts: Leaf, Akili Smith, David Klingler, Andre Ware, Jamarcus Russell.  Just to name a few.

The only way I know how to compare these players is to give you the stats.  And since each guy played different number of seasons, I will give you their per start average for yards passing:

Couch (5 seasons): 59 starts, 188.7 YPG, 59.8% Completion. 75.1 QB Rating

Leaf (4 seasons): 21 starts, 174.5 YPG, 48.4% Completion, 50.0 QB Rating

Ak. Smith (4 seasons): 17 starts, 130.1 YPG, 56.6% Completion, 52.8 QB Rating

Klingler (6 seasons): 24 starts, 166.4 YPG, 54.2% Completion, 65.1 QB Rating

Ware (4 seasons): 6 starts, 185.3 YPG, 51.6% Completion, 63.5 QB Rating

Jamarcus Russell (3 seasons): 25 starts, 131.7 YPG, 52.1% Completion, 65.2 QB Rating

So, I think it is safe to say that Couch has AT LEAST 5 guys who are bigger busts than him.  Here is another stat for you: Who is the only one of these players to lead their team to a playoff berth?  That’s right, Tim Couch.

But that very playoff appearance is also what hurts Couch the most.  Couch broke his leg in the last game of that season, meaning he didn’t start in the playoff game.  Instead, Kelly Holcombe did, played very well, and led to a QB battle the next season.  Couch never was able to recover, thanks to Butch Davis.  Davis opened the job back up because of ONE game that Holcombe played, overlooking the entire season that Couch had just played.  And the Browns have not been back to playoffs again.

Couch ended up tearing his shoulder to shreds as well, basically ending his career.

Tell me if this statement is wrong: TIM COUCH’S CAREER ENDED BECAUSE OF INJURY.  THE OTHER 5 GUYS ABOVE HAD THEIR CAREERS ENDED BECAUSE OF POOR PLAY.  That is why you can’t call Couch a bust.

So, again, my question is this:  Why is Tim Couch considered a BUST, when he was actually an average quarterback.  He took an EXPANSION team to the playoffs in 5 seasons.  David Carr had the same amount of time and never got the Texans close.  Couch still holds the Browns record for completion percentage.  Carr still holds the Texans record for being sacked.

Since Couch played in an era where television had not been invented, I instead give you his highlight video as a video game.  Be careful, this not safe for work.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

44 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Take Tim Couch off the BUST list

  1. kyboy
    9:10 am August 20, 2014 Permalink

    He was still a bust. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed watching him play at UK but he never had a very strong arm.

    • arlo
      9:27 am August 20, 2014 Permalink

      couch was busted up in cleveland but wasn’t a bust. he was put in the worst position that a rookie qb could’ve possibly been put in. he had zero protection by the excuse of an ol and spent most of his time after each snap running for his life. if he had been drafted by a team with an established qb that he could have played behind for a year or two he might have had a long career. and the list of qb busts is spot on.

    • highoctanehurricane
      5:23 pm August 20, 2014 Permalink

      The O line that Couch played behind in Cleveland also contributed to Couch leading the league in number of times sacked his rookie year and finishing second in the NFL two years later. Both of those was over 50 sacks per season (56 in ’99 and 51 in ’01). That is twice within three years he was in the top 2 of QB’s sacked and that is almost 3.5 sacks every single game for 2 years straight. It’s practically a miracle he made it as long as he did. Saying, “He was still a bust” is another way of saying, “I’m too lazy to research more.”

      In hindsight I wish for Couch’s NFL career’s sake that he would have slipped down to the #2 pick to the Philadelphia Eagles. I like to think he would have at least led the Eagles to a Super Bowl win that McNabb could never do. Even if he didn’t he would have had a longer career playing behind a much better O line and for a much, much, much better head coach.

    • catdaddyd
      12:04 am August 21, 2014 Permalink

      I think when he was filmed crying during an interview because he was getting booed, proved he was a bust.

  2. UKfan
    9:10 am August 20, 2014 Permalink

    It is hard to consider Couch a bust when he had zero support at Cleveland. One player can make a team better, but they can’t make them a contender. Couch had almost no line protection with minimal running game. Hard to fault him for that. The best thing that could have happened to Couch is if Cleveland had waited a year to expand.

  3. Chaz
    9:10 am August 20, 2014 Permalink

    [after playing out all possible outcomes for Global Thermonuclear War]

    Joshua: Greetings, Professor Falken.

    Stephen Falken: Hello, Joshua.

    Joshua: A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?

    • UKfan
      9:13 am August 20, 2014 Permalink

      Loved War Games. One of the first movies I watched on satellite.

  4. ChicagoCat
    9:15 am August 20, 2014 Permalink

    I’ve always felt calling Couch a “bust” was a little unfair considering the situation he was thrown in with a coach and fanbase that did not support him after year 2. The stats also don’t lie, he was mediocre, not awful. There have been quite a few #1 QBs over the years with worse results in better situations. I think Couch is viewed as a bust moreso because of his hype and the QBs that came into the league around him (Peyton Manning, for example).

  5. Cats
    9:20 am August 20, 2014 Permalink

    This is the dumbest posts I’ve read on ksr

    • Tom
      12:04 pm August 20, 2014 Permalink

      gotta post something

  6. Respect Stuff
    9:27 am August 20, 2014 Permalink

    A Bust? Dare I be the first to say “Heather Kosar”?

  7. Coach Jamin
    9:36 am August 20, 2014 Permalink

    OK, this was his supporting cast during his most successful year, leading the Browns to that 2002 playoff berth:

    RB: Willie Green
    WR: Kevin Johnson
    WR: Quincy Morgan
    TE: Mark Campbell
    TE: Steve Heiden
    LT: Ross Verba
    LG: Barry Stokes
    C: Steve Wohlabaugh
    RG: Shaun O’Hara
    RT: Ryan Tucker

    Now I’m no talent expert by any definition of the word, but… going 9-7 with that line up tells me one thing. Tim Couch was not a bust. I’d go as far as to say that Peyton Manning nor Tom Brady could have done much better all things considered. We’ll never know, but I venture to say if Tim’s shoulder hadn’t been completely decimated by the end of his career, and the Browns had still made the stupid decision to go with Kelly Holcombe, Tim would have gotten a legitimate shot elsewhere and had a very solid career with better support.

    • Matthew
      9:41 am August 20, 2014 Permalink


    • asdf
      9:42 am August 20, 2014 Permalink

      Remember that right after Couch, the Browns brought in Jeff Garcia, who was coming off two straight Pro Bowls, and he didn’t do any better than Couch in Cleveland. In fact, he did worse because he couldn’t get them into the playoffs.

    • Adam
      10:18 am August 20, 2014 Permalink

      I am both a UK and Browns fan so I watched my share of both teams. Here is the ’99 starting unit.

      QB Tim Couch
      RB Terry Kirby
      FB Marc Edwards
      WR Kevin Johnson
      WR Darrin Chiaverini
      TE Irv Smith
      LT Lomas Brown
      LG Jim Pyne
      C Dave Wohlabaugh
      RG Scott Rehberg
      RT Orlando Brown

      Tell me that it was the possibly worst situation to put a #1 draft pick in. No running game, little experience on the OL, only receiving threat was a speedster in KJ but Couch never was standing up long enough to throw it to him. If he came out this year for the Browns, I have no doubt he would be at least a mid level QB (i.e. Rivers or Cutler).

  8. asdf
    9:39 am August 20, 2014 Permalink

    Couch remains the only QB to lead the new Browns to the playoffs. He was no bust, just an average QB who was most notable for making plays in crunch time beyond what his statistical averages would indicate (which he had plenty of chances to do, since almost ever Browns game back then went down to the wire).

    The things that hurt his rep are the immense hype he had going in, the crying incident, and the busted comeback attempt in Green Bay when he had no arm left at all (not to mention the HGH scandal and subsequent ban from the league, which is what officially ended his career).

  9. Duuuuuude
    9:40 am August 20, 2014 Permalink

    I agree with the folks who think that the situation Couch found himself was unfair. I think the history in Cleveland speaks for itself. Since the return of the Browns, I cannot think of any QB who was ever able to establish a success record there. Had he had an opportunity to go someplace like New Orleans, he could have been great.

    • Coach Jamin
      9:48 am August 20, 2014 Permalink

      I would have loved to have seen Tim drafted by a team that ran a West Coast Offense with legitimate talent around him. We all saw what he did with something similar to that at UK. He may have very well been a pro-bowler under the right circumstances, say like under a coach like Andy Reid.

  10. Chiefwiggum
    9:48 am August 20, 2014 Permalink

    Yeah. He was the only bust Cleveland put under center.

  11. RD
    9:53 am August 20, 2014 Permalink

    Cleveland did very little to help Couch. As posted above, the lack of talent at the skill positions. Plus a very poor OL, and the team went 9-7. That’s pretty impressive actually.

  12. Michael F. Jox
    10:12 am August 20, 2014 Permalink

    He was a bust because he couldn’t throw the ball 40 yds without it taking 6 seconds to get there. He had a limp arm. The fact that Holcombe was indeed a better qb than him is about as bust as you can get after being the number 1 pick.

  13. Actually, David Klingler had some injury problems as well. As a Bengals fan I can’t believe I had forgotten that until reading an article about it a few years ago. It mentioned how far he could throw the ball before he hurt his elbow or shoulder (can’t remember which one and I can’t remember where I read the article).

  14. The Loco Pollo
    10:37 am August 20, 2014 Permalink

    For once (and hopefully the only time ever) I agree with BTI. Couch got a bad wrap. Cleveland as an organization failed him and the fans. He obviously was never going to be the superstar some thought he might, but he was better than he’s given credit for an with any talent around him or a capable O-Line he would’ve been a solid QB. I’m glad Tim seems like he’s always kept his head high.

  15. KevinM
    10:43 am August 20, 2014 Permalink

    Couch was a rookie…
    The Browns were an expansion team…
    The head coach was an expansion coach……

    Did any other ‘bust’ have this same scenario…not even close…Couch did as well as he could have with little support. The crying and HGH incidents tainted his career though.

    • bluristhurr
      12:05 pm August 20, 2014 Permalink

      You make a good argument from my opinions from things I couldn’t think of.

  16. Reality
    10:47 am August 20, 2014 Permalink

    Cleveland is where promising quarterbacks’ careers go to die horrible, violent, Game-of-Thrones-worthy deaths. Manziel is lucky he isn’t starting over Hoyer, and is probably being looked at as trade bait.

  17. Kozar
    11:17 am August 20, 2014 Permalink

    Just google image his playmate of the year wife, NOT AT WORK, Heather Kozar.

    Tim Couch was not a bust. He wins at life. WOW.

    • The Big Stick
      12:21 pm August 20, 2014 Permalink

      Have you really won if you married the town whore (even if she is pretty). Do you really want to be the last pickle in the jar?

    • Kosher Pickles
      4:41 pm August 20, 2014 Permalink

      If that pickle jar is Heather Kozar’s then yes, I absolutely would want to be the last pickle in the jar. Quit acting like you wouldn’t smash that if you had the chance lolol

    • The Big Stick
      8:39 am August 21, 2014 Permalink

      Smash yes (perfect booty call girl). Bring home to mama and marry, no. Look up Cade Mcnown and Heather Kozar. She dumped Tim for his so-called friend. He took the soiled jar back.

  18. Reality Check
    11:25 am August 20, 2014 Permalink

    Couch was an average NFL QB which isn’t what an #1 pick is expected to become. Couch had a decent but short five year career. As others have said, he didn’t have much of a supporting cast and a poor OL. After drafting Couch, Cleveland put most of its top draft picks into the defense which sure didn’t help keep Tim healthy or give him many weapons.

  19. MustangCat
    11:26 am August 20, 2014 Permalink

    Couldn’t agree more. No QB – period – could have done any better if they had been dealt the hand he was. Cleveland was horrible, and HE was pretty much the only reason they did anything. His career was cut short because of injuries. Not bad play. He got beat up severely. Twice sacked over 50 times!! Took monstrous hits when he got the pass off!? I cringed in most of his highlight reel plays! His shoulder was turned into hamburger. Stoops should bring him on as QB coach! Be better then Joker….

    • Get Real
      1:02 pm August 20, 2014 Permalink

      Donovan McNabb who was the #2 pick in that same 1999 draft would have been a better pick for Cleveland and would have done a better job. Why, because Donovan could have run for his life more effectively than Tim given that poor OL. To say that no QB could have done better is comical as if Tim was one of the all-time NFL greats.

    • Get Real Part Dos
      5:57 pm August 20, 2014 Permalink

      Really? McNabb was sacked 45 times his second year playing on a better offensive unit behind a better O line. How do I know Philly’s O and O line was better? Compare the 2000 season’s stats…

      Total yards Cle 3530 Phil 5006
      Points Cle 161 Phil 351
      Rush yards Cle 1085 Phil 1882
      Rush yd/att Cle 3.2 Phil 4.7

      I could go on and on, but this is the broad strokes that illustrate my point that McNabb wasn’t THAT much better (if he was better at all) because he was sacked a lot playing for a Philly team that was much more solid. McNabb actually had run support. He also had a better receiving corps and a better O line.

      Granted McNabb was a better runner, but Couch was a better passer. And the guy you replied to didn’t act like Couch was an all-time NFL great. He was merely complimenting the play of Couch in the midst of a horrid Cleveland rebuilding project.

    • Get Real Again
      8:45 am August 21, 2014 Permalink

      The guy that I responded to said “No quarterback- period – could have done any better had they been dealt the hand he was.” No QB would include all NFL all of fame quarterbacks such as John Elway (who also could run much better than Tim).

  20. Mark S
    11:30 am August 20, 2014 Permalink

    KAT = Tim Duncan

  21. Heath Shuler
    11:37 am August 20, 2014 Permalink

    All I know is that I had Ryan Leaf over for drinks and now there’s a hole in the wall where my medicine cabinet used to be.

  22. Tom
    12:03 pm August 20, 2014 Permalink

    Certainly he wasn’t a bust!
    Sorta like being accused accused of being the ugliest kid in school. Just the sixth ugliest.
    How many quarterbacks have been successful since then. Let’s see where he ranks in that bunch.

  23. J.A.
    12:18 pm August 20, 2014 Permalink

    Wow, an accurate article from BTI, good job. Unreal how couch gets hated on, other than maybe Andrew luck his first year couch took the worst team in history to the playoffs, and if wasn’t for boneheads would’ve at least one more time. Nothing angers me more than hearing ppl call couch a bust.

  24. BetweenTheLines
    12:25 pm August 20, 2014 Permalink

    So in the same article that you are trying to prove that Couch is not a bust you say:

    “I think it is safe to say that Couch has AT LEAST 5 guys who are bigger busts than him.”


  25. bleedingblue
    1:01 pm August 20, 2014 Permalink

    I watched many games that Couch played in while in Cleveland and his OL was horrid. I think it was the worst line I have ever seen in the NFL. Granted it was their very first year playing but it was awful.
    I thought Couch did an admirable job given what he had to deal with. The coach did him no favors in playing him then benching him and then playing him.
    If he was a bust then every player at Cleveland was a bust because Couch was a better player than any of em.

  26. Jimharris
    4:54 pm August 20, 2014 Permalink

    When I see what Cleveland’s new QB faces, I am reminded that Tim went there under similar circumstances. With no team support he spent most of his time on his back, looking up from the bottom of the pile rather than down the field for receivers. TIM NEVER HAD A CHANCE AT CLEVELAND. Neither would Mr manning nor any great QB have looked good with that lousy team. Yet Couch took most of the blame for the shambles the franchise was in. Lordy, I hated to hear that he was going to Cleveland as the drafting commenced. Now I’m just glad that he’s out of the NFL mess with enough money to be financially comfortable for life….and most importantly, in good health. And I hope he finds an integral role in the BBN–for life. He deserves it!

  27. JMS
    6:51 pm August 20, 2014 Permalink

    What I don’t understand is why you didn’t go for two after the touchdown? What good is a two point lead?

    As far as Couch is concerned – I enjoyed watching him at Kentucky and I enjoyed rooting for him in the NFL. I thought he made the best of a bad situation in Cleveland – getting to the playoffs was a major accomplishment given the circumstances.

  28. caveman2
    7:51 pm August 20, 2014 Permalink

    I am surprised Couch survived as well as he did that Cleveland debacle as well as he did. That O line was garbage. He was getting beat down. I watched those games and it was a travesty.