BEREA — Browns quarterback Jake Delhomme didn’t practice Friday for the third straight day with an injured ankle, increasing the likelihood that Seneca Wallace will start Sunday against the Chiefs in the home opener.
Wallace said he had been told “somewhat” by the coaches that he would get the start.
“I got the feel of it being out at practice and he still walks around nursing his injury,” he said Friday after practice. “I’ve still been going out there practicing and doing what I’ve been doing. From that standpoint, I kinda got that feeling.”
Coach Eric Mangini said he wanted to wait until Saturday to make a decision on his starter, but likely won’t announce it until Sunday morning before kickoff.
“I’d like to go through today,” Mangini said Friday. “Jake’s made progress all weeklong. He knows the game plan. He’s got such an ease with picking things up. I have complete confidence in him. If we’re in a situation where we could play him, I have total confidence in him.
“That being said, I feel real good about what Seneca’s done all week. It’s not just me, it’s the coaches, the players, we all feel good about him leading us as well.”
Wallace is new to the Browns offense after spending seven years in Seattle’s West Coast system. He looked good in the preseason, as he worked some with the starters in the first three games.
“This week helped a lot, getting the reps and doing things and calling the plays and working out the timing,” he said. “It was good this week.”
Delhomme hurt the ankle on a second-quarter interception Sunday in a 17-14 loss to Tampa Bay. He remained in the game but struggled in the second half as the Buccaneers finished the rally. Wallace played four snaps as a receiver, with Joshua Cribbs as the Wildcat quarterback.
Wallace would be the Browns’ 15th quarterback to start a game since 1999. In the same timeframe, Peyton Manning has started every game for the Colts.
“It is an injury situation, so it’s different,” Mangini said, referring to past changes based on performance. “I wasn’t here for all the other ones. I was here for some of them, but not all of them.
“In our situation now, Seneca’s worked with the first group, Seneca’s been here the whole offseason. In the locker room with the guys, the coaching staff, right across board, there’s a real sense of confidence in him. I think everybody’s got a chance to see what he can do when he plays.”
Depending on the ankle, Delhomme could start, back up Wallace or be the No. 3 quarterback. That would leave rookie Colt McCoy as the backup. It would also increase the likelihood of seeing more Cribbs in the Wildcat if Wallace were injured.
** Nose tackle Shaun Rogers (ankle, hip) returned to practice and Mangini said he expects him to play Sunday.
** Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson (pectoral) practiced for the first time since Aug. 10. He isn’t expected to play this week.