BEREA — Quarterback Jake Delhomme looked much better running and throwing Wednesday in the half-hour of practice open to the media, and the next big hurdle will be how he responds today.
Delhomme hadn’t gone through a Wednesday practice — the most rigorous of the week — since the opening week. He was limited, but his workload was expected to increase after taking only a couple of repetitions last Thursday and Friday.
He’s missed the last three games with a high ankle sprain suffered in the first half of the opener. The plan is for him to start Sunday against Atlanta.
“I would say that’s the approach that we are going with,” coach Eric Mangini said before practice. “However, we’ve got to go through (Wednesday) with more reps. It will be more reps (Wednesday) than it was last week, so how he wakes up (today) and what that looks like will give us a better idea of whether or not he’s ready to actually go or whether we are just a step closer.”
Mangini said Delhomme and Seneca Wallace, who’s started the last three games, will split practice time “because we’ve got to prepare for both situations.”
Mangini said he wouldn’t play Delhomme if the odds of reinjuring the ankle are “substantial.” He said Delhomme would be evaluated all week to determine if he’s healthy enough to execute the game plan.
“You’re just really looking at his normal operation and how that compares, at this point, to what it was,” Mangini said. “What things bother him, what things don’t bother him and get a gauge as the week goes on of which things are going to continue to bother him going into the game, if there are any. If there are, how much you can minimize that, or if you can’t, then you play Seneca.”
Wallace has grown more comfortable in his three starts, especially getting nearly all the first-team snaps. He said it’ll be an adjustment splitting them with Delhomme, but he’s rolling with the punches.
“It’s a little different, but nothing that I’m not used to,” Wallace said. “We’ll both have to deal with that and make sure we’ve got the proper stuff. “Whatever happens happens. I can’t be upset about it. I’ve just got to continue to do what I do. Hopefully whoever is playing will go out there and play well.”
Second-year center Alex Mack has started all 20 games with the Browns and Mangini expects that streak to continue despite Mack missing practice Wednesday with a shoulder injury. Mangini said he expects Mack to practice today or Friday and that he “should” play against the Falcons.
Defensive linemen Shaun Rogers (ankle, hip), Robaire Smith (back) and Kenyon Coleman (knee) also didn’t practice. They all missed at least two days last week but were able to play Sunday.
Special teamer Nick Sorensen (calf) and right tackle John St.
Clair (ankle) also were held out.
Receiver/returner Joshua Cribbs (ankle) and offensive lineman Shawn Lauvao (ankle) were limited, and running back Jerome Harrison (thigh) participated fully.
A Robiskie will be standing on each sideline Sunday at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Brian Robiskie is in his second year as a Browns receiver. Terry, Brian’s father, is in his third year as Falcons receivers coach.
“It’s going to be fun,” Brian said. “A little family competition.”
Terry knows the Browns organization well from his four years here as coach, including five games as interim head coach in 2004. Brian was a ball boy during Terry’s years here, but said he won’t feel any added pressure going against dad’s team.
“At the end of the day it’s still the Browns against the Falcons,” Brian said. “I have a responsibility to my team here, and that’s all I’m concerned with.”
Brian said he hadn’t talked to Terry yet this week. The call usually takes place the night before the game.
“We’ll see about this week,” Brian said.
Brian missed the last two games with an injured hamstring. He was limited Wednesday but expects to play Sunday. He said he was close to playing against the Bengals.
“But I just wasn’t sure,” he said.
“The last couple days, I think that was the rest I needed. I feel good.” Falcons coach Mike Smith praised Terry’s work.
“Without a doubt, Terry Robiskie is the best wide receivers coach in all of football,” he said on a conference call with Cleveland media. “His knowledge, he’s seen just about everything you can see in terms of how people are trying to defend you in the passing game. Not just as a receivers coach, he’s one of the top coaches in all of football.”
The new guy
Defensive end Jayme Mitchell arrived Wednesday and was still in a state of shock after being traded from the Vikings for a lateround draft pick in 2012. He didn’t see the move coming and has never played in a 3-4 scheme.
“It’s a big difference,” he said.
“I’m going to have to get adjusted to it.”
Mitchell, 26, is 6-foot-6, 285 pounds. Mangini said he could also get a look at outside linebacker, which he hasn’t played since high school. Mangini said he had a couple of quarterback pressures against Cleveland in the 2009 opener.
“I think he’s got good, natural pass-rush ability,” Mangini said. “I think he does a good job at the line of scrimmage in the running game. Now it’s a function of us being able to get him up to speed, get him in a role and him learning the system before we can play him.”
Mangini said the fact that the line is banged up didn’t drive the trade.
Lauvao, a third-round pick in April, seemed headed for the starting right guard spot in the preseason, as veteran Floyd “Pork Chop” Womack recovered from arthroscopic knee surgery.
But a high ankle sprain before the opener has caused Lauvao to miss the first four games. He’s doing better, but it won’t be easy to displace Womack.
“Pork Chop’s not planning on going anywhere,” Mangini said.
“He’s not sitting there going, ‘Hey, Shawn’s back, go ahead.’ “That’s a good thing. If you want it, you better go earn it.
They all want to play, which is what you want.”
Womack, 31 and in his 10th year, has been part of the line that paved the way for consecutive 100-yard rushing games by Peyton Hillis.
“I think Chop has played well this year. I think he played well last year,” Mangini said. “Shawn’s got his work cut out for him.”
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.