July 22, 2014

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Right side of offensive line in flux

BEREA – The right side of the offensive line was unrecognizable Tuesday during two-a-day practices.

The top four linemen were absent, leaving journeyman backups Billy Yates and Scott Kooistra with the starters at right guard and right tackle.

Veteran Floyd Womack will miss the rest of the preseason with a knee injury, coach Eric Mangini announced. Rookie guard Shawn Lauvao has been excused for the rest of the week for personal reasons. And tackles Tony Pashos (shoulder) and John St. Clair (undisclosed) are recovering from minor injuries.

Womack and Lauvao are competing for the starting right guard spot, while Pashos, St. Clair and Womack are candidates at right tackle.

Womack, 31, left practice at the end of last week and didn’t play Saturday night in Green Bay. He likely underwent arthroscopic surgery to clean out loose cartilage, and Mangini said he’ll be re-evaluated closer to the season. He started nine games for the Browns last year.

“It’s just some knee issues that he has had,” Mangini said.

Lauvao, a third-round pick, took Womack’s spot at right guard against the Packers and played well. Mangini wouldn’t get into details about the personal issue and sounded as if Lauvao would miss the game Saturday against the Rams.

“It really is a personal issue like we all have in our lives,” Mangini said. “There is nothing physically wrong with him or anything like that.

“I expect him back and I think he did a really, really good job for his first opportunity against a high level of competition being thrust into the starting lineup. That’s not easy to do.”

St. Clair is expected back to practice Thursday, and Pashos this week or next.

“You have just got to keep pushing forward,” Mangini said. “You don’t know where (the injury bug is) going to hit, how it’s going to hit and what levels it’s going to hit. You know it’s going to happen, you have just got to build enough flexibility so when things do happen, you can continue to move the team forward.”

Pat Murray also received playing time on the right side Tuesday.

 JAKE’S FRESH START

Quarterback Jake Delhomme isn’t getting carried away with his touchdown drive against the Packers.

“It’s an exhibition game, but it was a good drive,” he said. “It sure beats the heck out of going three and out, three and out, three and out. We started fast and that’s what we wanted to do.”

Delhomme is coming off an 18-interception season with the Carolina Panthers, so the solid Browns debut was nice. But he said his renewed confidence comes from a change of scenery.

“I think the biggest thing for me is starting over in a new place,” he said. “I think I really tried to take the world on my shoulders last year and that didn’t do anybody any good.

“But starting over at a new place has really helped. I keep saying it over and over, it’s been fresh, it’s been fun. That’s what makes it so enjoyable for me.”

Delhomme acknowledged he wouldn’t feel the same if he were still playing in Carolina, where he spent 2003-09.

“I’d probably have to put on a good face, but deep down inside I would still be trying to be perfect,” he said.

INJURY REPORT

Rookie quarterback Colt McCoy returned to practice after missing a day with a sore thumb, which hit a helmet during Saturday’s game. Mangini said McCoy’s expected to play against the Rams.

** Running back Peyton Hillis returned after leaving Monday’s practice early. Running back James Davis missed both sessions Tuesday, working on the stationary bike.

** Receiver Mohamed Massaquoi (hamstring), cornerback Brandon McDonald (calf) and linebacker David Bowens (knee) didn’t practice.

Bowens served as a coach last week while linebackers coach Matt Eberflus missed time with an illness. He worked inside with the trainers Tuesday with Eberflus back.

LAWSON PLEADS

Reserve cornerback/special teamer Gerard Lawson pleaded no contest to DUI after a hit-skip accident Aug. 8 in Cleveland’s Warehouse District. Three other charges were dropped.

He was sentenced to a year of probation and community service and had his license suspended for six months. He was given a $500 fine.

Lawson left the morning practice early to attend court.

 PRACTICE TIDBITS

Linebacker Titus Brown ran a punishment lap after starting a scuffle with running back Chris Jennings by pushing him over the pile late. Defensive lineman Swanson Miller got into the action, and someone threw a punch.

** Delhomme overthrew Chansi Stuckey on a slant and was intercepted by Sheldon Brown to end a two-minute drill.

** Seneca Wallace led a successful two-minute drill that ended with a winning 44-yard field goal by Phil Dawson. The big play on the drive was a long pass interference penalty on cornerback Chris Chancellor, who was beaten by rookie receiver Carlton Mitchell.

Chancellor saw some time with the first-team defense as a nickelback.

EXTRA POINTS

Mangini said the NFL’s decision to move the umpire from the middle of the field to behind the line of scrimmage is good for safety reasons. He isn’t sure how it will affect penalty calls.

** Injured linebacker D’Qwell Jackson (pectoral) misses practice. He watched parts of the morning session through a window and from a cart inside the fieldhouse.

** The family of reserve quarterback Brett Ratliff was decked out in No. 5 jerseys to watch practice. Daughter Elle’s jersey said “Miss Ratty” and son Johnny’s said “Lil’ Ratty.” Ratliff’s nickname is Ratty.

Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or spetrak@chroniclet.com.