November 26, 2014

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Browns notes: McCoy’s status up in air thanks to ankle

BEREA — Coach Eric Mangini con­firmed rookie quarterback Colt McCoy sprained his left ankle Sunday in the 24-20 loss to the Jaguars, but was unclear about the extent of the injury. McCoy may have a high ankle sprain, which usually requires a month of recovery time.

“It’s definitely an ankle sprain,” Mangini said Monday. “Now it’s just how it responds here. We’ll see whether or not there’s any chance of that.”

If McCoy can’t play Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, Mangini would have to choose between Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace, both of whom have recovered from high right ankle sprains. Wallace was the backup Sunday and Delhomme the No. 3.

“I’d like to wait until Wednesday to see how it does shake out in terms of where (McCoy) is,” Mangini said. “We’ll figure it out at that point.”

Delhomme started the opener, got hurt and aggravated the ankle injury Oct. 10 when he replaced an injured Wallace against the Falcons. Mangini declared Delhomme 100 percent healthy.

Wallace started four games in place of Delhomme before his ankle injury. He got better each week and felt he had earned the right to start when he returned.

Delhomme would be the sentimen­tal choice against the Panthers if McCoy can’t play. He spent seven sea­sons in Carolina, advancing to the Super Bowl during the 2003 season. He was cut after 2009 and signed with the Browns.

McCoy finished the Jaguars game despite hurting the ankle early in the third quarter on a sack. He led a go­ahead field-goal drive with 2:46 left, then reached the 29-yard line with 13 seconds left in need of a touchdown.

Mangini commended him on his play, but took issue with a couple of choices in the final hurried possession that began on the 20-yard line with 1:16 left and no timeouts. Fifteen seconds ran off the clock on a crossing pass to Chansi Stuckey that gained no yards at the Cleveland 49-yard line. Mangini called it a “young guy decision.”

“We talk about that a lot. You’re fighting two things — distance and time,” he said. “Unless you think it’s going to be some catch-and-run type deal, it’s not where you want to go with the ball. It sometimes happens, especially with a younger guy.”

McCoy followed with a 22-yard com­pletion to the 29-yard line to tight end Evan Moore, who got out of bounds with 13 seconds left. The plan was to throw two passes into the end zone, but McCoy threw to tight end Ben­jamin Watson at the 5-yard line. It was tipped and intercepted, but Mangini said a completion would’ve ended the game without time for another play.

“We said we wanted to take two shots and they had to be in the end zone,” Mangini said. “He saw Ben get over the top of a linebacker. He was try­ing to get a little air under it so he could catch and run. It came behind him.”

Fujita update

Linebacker Scott Fujita talked for the first time since spraining his left medial collateral knee ligament Nov. 14 against the Jets. He wore a large knee brace, then walked very slowly when he took it off to take a shower.

Fujita said he doesn’t need surgery and is optimistic he’ll make it back this season. He doesn’t know when.

“It’s tough to say really with these injuries,” he said. “I’ve always felt like I was kind of a fast healer, and right now I’m just hoping for the best.

“Obviously, I’m disappointed about it. It was a tough game to watch. Would have loved to be out there, but right now the best thing I can do is just stay in the training room and get back as quick as possible.”

A teammate fell into Fujita’s knee to cause the injury. He watched the Jaguars game with his twin daughters who are almost 3.

“It drives you absolutely crazy,” he said of missing a game. “Especially when you’ve got two kids sitting next to you, and they just want to talk the whole time.

So I set up them with an iPad and a ‘Dora’ episode so I could focus on the game.”

Injury report

  • Cornerback Eric Wright walked into the locker room with a crutch under his left arm but walked out carrying it. He injured his left knee early in the first quarter Sunday when nose tackle Ahtyba Rubin fell on him, and was unable to return despite testing the leg at halftime. “I was trying to get back out there and play with the rest of my teammates,” he said. “I felt pretty good warming up and trying to get back out there. Just realistically I didn’t feel like two more quarters I was gonna be able to make it.” Neither Wright nor Mangini had a prognosis for a return.
  • Mangini said Watson should be OK after injuring his right ankle. He returned and finished the game.
  • Special teamer Blake Costanzo wasn’t as fortunate with a groin injury. “It doesn’t look great for Blake,” Mangini said.
  • Receiver/returner Joshua Cribbs (dislocated toes) and defensive back Mike Adams (abdomen) didn’t play Sunday, but Mangini said they are making progress.

No regrets

Cornerback Sheldon Brown didn’t regret his decision to go for the strip on Maurice Jones-Drew’s 75-yard catch-and-run that set up the winning touchdown.

“He was in a pile of like three or four guys,” Brown said. “When you have a pile of people like that and me coming blindside, the way I’ve been taught and the way we still coach it is secure the tackle and then strip the ball. But it was like a million of us missed that play.”

Mangini disagreed with Brown’s assessment.

“One guy tried to strip it because he thought the other guy had him posted up,” he said. “We chose wrong and it goes for a long way.”

Brown said his approach is different if he’s one-on-one with the ball carrier.

“You just make the sure tackle,” he said.

Decisions, decisions

Mangini talked about a couple of key situations from the game.

◾ He considered letting the Jaguars score from the 1-yard line to give the offense more time to score on the final drive. The Jaguars wound up scoring on second down to take a 24-20 lead with 1:16 left.

“We play pretty good goal-line defense and I felt like we had a chance to stop them and force them to kick a field goal,” he said.

◾ On using two timeouts with the defense on the field. They had too many players in one instance and the wrong personnel on the other.

“It shouldn’t happen,” he said. “We have to do a better job as a coaching staff to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

◾ Mangini said ideally McCoy would’ve stayed down after an 18-yard scramble that left him hobbling on the fourth­quarter field-goal drive. He returned to the huddle too late and the Browns spent their final timeout. They were at the 18­yard line, so Mangini didn’t want to take the delay penalty.

“If you really are having trouble getting up, you should stay down and let the trainers come out and look at you,” he said. “If you have to go out for a play, you have to go out for a play.”