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.