October 30, 2014

Elyria
Partly sunny
47°F
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Browns notes: Delhomme’s eligibility status still uncertain

BEREA — Quarterback Jake Del­homme missed practice again Thurs­day with an injured right ankle, but coach Eric Mangini is keeping his options open regarding his availability Sunday.

Delhomme could start, be well enough to back up Seneca Wallace or be the No. 3 quarterback. Mangini said Delhomme had made “some progress” from Wednesday to Thursday.

“All three of those are potential situa­tions,” Mangini said.“You have to look at where Jake is at the end of the week.”

Delhomme wasn’t seen in the locker room Thursday during the 45 minutes of media availability or during the half-hour of practice open to the media. Wallace took the first-team rep­etitions, and rookie Colt McCoy worked with the second team.

Mangini said Delhomme’s role for the home opener against the Chiefs will depend on his health and the number of repetitions he’s able to take before Sunday.

“He is not going to miss a beat in terms of what the game plan is, what they’re doing defensively, he’s very good at that,” Mangini said.

Wallace was a backup throughout his seven years in Seattle, so a spot start is nothing new. He is 5-9 as a starter, completing 60 percent of his passes with 25 touchdowns, 14 inter­ceptions and an 83.1 rating.

“That’s really the life of a two,” Mangini said. “Sometimes it’s a quar­ter, sometimes it’s a full game and sometimes it’s a string of games.

“He’s worked in that spot for a long time and he has a lot of experience in doing that. I feel really good about his ability to come in and start, come in and play and do it at a high level.”

Mike Holmgren was the coach and Gil Haskell the offensive coordinator for much of Wallace’s tenure with the Seahawks. They are now president and senior adviser to the president for the Browns.

“It’s not going back and looking at statistically what did he do or what were his favorite plays. I literally just walk down the hall and talk to Mike,” Mangini said. “It’s another benefit, the guys who game-planned with him in that role and really understand him as a quarterback are here with us.”

What did Mangini and coordinator Brian Daboll learn from the discus­sions?

“It was all good stuff,” said Mangini, who wouldn’t divulge the details. “We’ll use it.”

Mangini isn’t in a rush to make a decision regarding the quarterbacks. He likes the idea of keeping the Chiefs in the dark, and wants to give Del­homme as much time as possible to recover.

“We have today, we have tomorrow and we have Saturday,” he said. “We have a couple different approaches to how the game could go and we’re just going to have to see as the week unfolds which one we’re going to use.”

Colt moves up

If Delhomme can’t play at all, McCoy becomes the backup. He’d be a Wallace injury away from making his NFL debut.

“I’m getting a lot more reps obviously this week because Jake is down,” he said.

“I’m really preparing myself to play and if something does happen, I’ll be ready to go in, I will be prepared.”

McCoy started four years at Texas, so coming off the bench is new to him. He struggled with the adjustment during the preseason.

“One of the things I’ve really had to work on is not knowing when I’m going to go in, but always being ready,” he said. “Mentally being in tune to the game.

“That’s the kind of situation it’s going to be now. If Jake doesn’t play, then you’re one play away.”

McCoy struggled for the first three preseason games, but rebounded in the finale by completing all 13 passes.

“Being able to finish strong, being able to complete all my passes in the last game, definitely builds confidence for me,” he said. “But it also builds confidence in the locker room with guys on the team. They see your progression, see what you’ve done.

“You really just have to continue to work.

I’m a rookie, there’s always room for improvement.”

Berry, Berry good

Chiefs rookie safety Eric Berry would’ve been in the mix for the Browns if he had fallen to No. 7 in the draft. Instead, he went fifth and the Browns took Florida cornerback Joe Haden.

“I really liked him personally,” Mangini said of Berry, who went to Tennessee. “He is all football. He had a very mature, professional approach to pro football. The things that were important to him weren’t the contract, or where he was drafted or any of the other things that can sometimes creep into high draft picks. It was: Where am I going to be and how can I start and how can I contribute to that team?

“He’s going to keep getting better as a player.”

Haden and Berry played against each other in the SEC and became friends.

“Me and Major (Wright, a teammate) used to watch film of other offenses just to watch Eric on defense,” Haden said. “He reminded me of an Ed Reed, it’s not really about technique, it’s about instincts. It seems like he sees stuff before it happens.

“We loved watching him play, because he seemed so comfortable and like he was having a real good time. People would be backpedaling, and he’d be skipping and hopping back there, just looking around.”

Berry gave up a 3-yard touchdown to Chargers Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates in the opener and was involved in a miscommunication on a 59-yard touchdown pass on a blown coverage.

D’Qwell due back today

Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson is expected back on the practice field today after partially tearing a pectoral muscle in practice Aug. 10. Mangini wouldn’t rule him out for Sunday, but doesn’t want to rush him back.

Jackson has been watching practice and conditioning and can’t wait to get back.

The Browns could use his speed.

“My pec muscle’s been good,” he said.

“I’ve put it in overdrive for the last couple of weeks now and it’s responded well, so I’m excited about it.”

Jackson attended the opener in Tampa, Fla., but had to watch from the sideline in shorts. He grew up in Largo, about 20 minutes away.

“It was tough because I was back in my backyard,” he said. “I got to see all of my family, so that was good. My high school coach was at the game and a couple of other folks I haven’t seen in awhile.”

◾ Nose tackle Shaun Rogers (ankle, hip), offensive lineman Shawn Lauvao (ankle) and defensive back Derrick Roberson (hip) didn’t practice again. Safety/special teamer Nick Sorensen (concussion) and long snapper Ryan Pontbriand (ankle) were full participants in practice.

◾ Defensive ends Tyson Jackson (knee) and Wallace Gilberry (back) didn’t practice for the Chiefs.

Kerstetter to be honored

James Kerstetter, an Elyria patrolman who was killed in the line of duty, will be recognized at the home opener.

The Browns’ “Hats Off to Our Heroes Honor Row” will honor officers throughout Northeast Ohio who died while serving the community. The other honorees are: trooper Andrew C. Baldridge (Ohio State Highway Patrol), officer Jarod Michael Dean (Boston Heights), officer Thomas Patton II (Cleveland Heights) and Chief of Police Carl Worley (Ross Township).

Kerstetter was shot and killed March 15 while responding to a neighbor dispute on the city’s south side.

Extra points

  • All fans in attendance will receive a magnet schedule when leaving the game Sunday.
  • The team has upgraded the in-stadium experience. Fantasy statistics will be on the matrix boards, highlights from around the league will be shown on the scoreboard and credit cards (not just Visa, as in the past) will be accepted at all terminals.
  • Avon 9-year-old Marissa McAreavey won a Browns Kids Club contest and will retrieve the tee after the second-half kickoff.

Brown: Holmgren won’t define my legacy

Jim Brown, still angry over what he perceives as a slight from Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren, plans to skip this weekend’s ring of honor ceremony.

Brown was a guest speaker at Thursday’s Santa Clara Sports Law Symposium and said he will join NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell this weekend at a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus in Washington rather that fly to Ohio to take part in the ceremony honoring the Browns’ 16 Hall of Fame members.

“No, I won’t be going,” Brown said. “My legacy won’t be defined by Holmgren.”

Brown is upset with Holmgren for reducing his responsibilities as an adviser to owner Randy Lerner. He sent a letter telling Holmgren he would not stay with the team to be a “greeter, that of a mascot.” Holmgren attempted to contact Brown and wrote a letter trying to get the 74-year-old NFL legend to change his mind, but was unsuccessful. Holmgren said Lerner also sent a letter to Brown trying to persuade him to attend the ceremony Sunday when the Browns will honor their initial class into the ring of honor.

“I haven’t heard from Jim, but the door is open,” Holmgren said earlier this week when the Browns kicked off events connected with their ring of honor. “After he declined, I wrote another letter to him and again expressed my feelings on how much we would like him there, but understood that he might not be able to come.

“I left the door open. I’m holding out hope that we get that call in the next couple days.”

Besides Brown, the only living Browns Hall of Famer who won’t make it for the ring ceremony is Mike McCormack, a two-way star for the club from 1954-62.

McCormack, who lives in the Seattle area, recently had surgery.

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