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Delhomme returns to practice

Posted Sep 30, 2010

After missing two weeks worth of practice and two regular season games, quarterback Jake Delhomme participated in practice Thursday afternoon.

After missing two consecutive weeks of practice and the Browns’ games against the Kansas City Chiefs and at the Baltimore Ravens, quarterback Jake Delhomme returned to the field Thursday afternoon.

Though it was not at full capacity, Delhomme was able to participate in some drills in the second-to-last practice of the week leading up to the Browns’ first home game against an AFC North Division foe, the Cincinnati Bengals.

“Our plan was to bring him back on Thursday based on where he was with the rehab,” Browns Coach Eric Mangini said. “We’ve got to see, but he’s our starting quarterback, so whenever he’s ready to start, he’ll start. He’s limited today, so it’s going to vary a little bit by period.

“Some of the stuff Seneca (Wallace) had yesterday, we may give to Jake,” he continued. “There may be some plays we want Jake to have, so it’s not, ‘He’s getting just these plays.’ It’s a little bit targeted to make sure that each guy is getting what they need so they’re both ready as opposed to just saying, ‘The first amount of plays go to Seneca and then, the next plays go to Jake.’”

Delhomme, the team’s starting quarterback in a 17-14 road loss to Tampa Bay in the season opener, completed 20-of-37 passes for 227 yards and one touchdown against two interceptions. Should he play Sunday against Bengals, Delhomme will have a chance to improve his numbers, but more importantly, go after his first win as a member of the Browns.

“I’ve been preparing for the last three weeks the same way as I always do when I play,” Delhomme said. “That hasn’t changed. I haven’t missed any meeting time or things like that.

“We’re searching for a win; winning cures a lot of ills,” he continued. “I think this team is playing extremely hard. I think we’re close. I think we’re very close and it’s a big division opponent. It’s a team that’s pretty much dominated the division, interleague play, so to speak. We know we have a tough task.”

While facing the Bengals may be difficult, sitting on the sidelines has not been easy for Delhomme, a 12-year NFL veteran.

“You do everything they tell you and more,” said Delhomme. “It’s very frustrating, but things happen for a reason. I live my life that way; it’s what I believe. I’m very excited to try to go out on the field. I did throw with my boot on. That’s something I really tried to stay on top of.

“I think, like most people, you get impatient and it’s very difficult when you go to the stadium on Sunday and there’s a hallow feeling inside,” he added. “To me, that’s something where you don’t feel like you’re there for your teammates. It’s always something that bothered me a great deal.”

WATCHING THE RUN

In his time on the sidelines, Delhomme has noticed the effectiveness of the Browns’ running game.

Last Sunday, Peyton Hillis rushed for a career-high 144 yards against the Ravens, a team that no individual Browns running back had ever gained 100 yards on. Hillis leads the team with 220 yards and three touchdowns on 39 carries.

Jerome Harrison, who missed the Ravens game due to injury, has 85 yards on 25 carries.

“We’ve all known what he can do,” Delhomme said of Hillis. “I think people on the outside really have not. He’s a big bruiser, obviously, who’s pretty nimble and he runs downhill. Anytime you run downhill, you’re falling forward, gaining that extra yard or two per-carry. He’s doing a great job.

“I think it will be a great one-two punch, naturally, with him and Jerome,” he added. “The offensive line really played well. I think Lawrence Vickers is one who maybe doesn’t get the credit he deserves with the attitude he brings and what he does from the fullback position.”

SEIZING THE MOMENT

The Browns’ three opponents in 2010 have not given Joshua Cribbs much of a chance to return kicks. Whether it has been kicking short so one of the blockers must field the ball on a kickoff or putting the ball near the sidelines on a punt, the opponents have held Cribbs to 18.7 yards-per-kickoff-return and 6.8 yards-per-punt-return.

“It’s a smart thing to do,” Mangini said. “Do you let Cribbs run the kickoffs back or not? It’s the same thing on punts. Punts are being angled to the sideline. That’s probably what I would do too. Why let him ruin the game?

“You’re limited by the number of opportunities that you have,” he added. “The opportunities that we have, we have to maximize those. I’ve talked to the team a lot about that. You don’t know how many chances you’re going to get. It may be one; it may be three; it may be five. Whichever number it is, they have to count. The other thing is, teams get excited about playing against Josh, just like you get excited about playing against any player of that level. Everybody on our side has to be that much more ready to take somebody’s best shot.”