Browns QB Jake Delhomme getting closer to return; Mangini hopeful for return this weekBy Tom Withers, AP
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Browns’ QB Jake Delhomme still out
BEREA, Ohio — Hobbled by a nasty ankle injury the past two weeks, Browns quarterback Jake Delhomme practiced — by himself.
As his teammates went through drills outdoors, Delhomme, who sustained a high ankle sprain in Cleveland’s season-opening loss at Tampa Bay, tested his injury by throwing passes to Browns trainers on Wednesday inside the team’s indoor field house.
It’s the first time Delhomme has been seen doing any football drills since getting hurt on Sept. 12. He has been inactive for Cleveland’s past two games as backup Seneca Wallace has started close losses against Kansas City and Baltimore.
Delhomme has been wearing a walking boot, but he only had a brace on his ankle as he dropped back and threw several passes indoors.
Browns coach Eric Mangini said Delhomme could “potentially” return to practice on Thursday and Friday. Signed as a free agent in the offseason, Delhomme went 20 of 37 for 227 yards in his Browns’ debut.
Mangini would prefer to see the 35-year-old Delhomme play on Sunday at home against Cincinnati, but he has been pleased with Wallace, who has thrown for 370 yards with two touchdowns and one interception the past two weeks. Wallace had a 103.0 rating against Baltimore’s defense — one of the NFL’s best.
“I anticipate Jake coming back,” Mangini said. “We’ll see where he is. I want Jake to be healthy. That’s not a knock on Seneca. But Jake does some good things for us offensively.”
With Delhomme out for the second straight game, Cleveland turned to its running game last week and Peyton Hillis ran for a career-high 144 yards against the Ravens.
However, the Browns dropped their third straight — by just 12 combined points — and fell to 0-3 for the third consecutive year and fourth time in five seasons. The schedule ahead is brutal with upcoming games against the Bengals, Atlanta, Pittsburgh and New Orleans before the bye week.
And although they’re still searching for their first win, there’s a positive vibe on the Browns that they’re close to getting it.
“We’ve had the lead in every fourth quarter,” left tackle Joe Thomas said. “We have talent. We’ve proven we can do some good things on offense. We’re kind of finding our identity. Having the Ravens on the run, we felt like we should have won that game. We were really close at the end.
“We lost 34-3 to the Ravens last year, and we were really searching for answers. We kind of know where we are right now and I think looking forward, there’s a lot of good things instead of a lot of questions.”
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