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QB Joe Flacco continues preparation as Browns work through uncertainty at quarterback

Flacco took first-team reps both Wednesday and Thursday as Dorian Thompson-Robinson did not practice

Flacco talks 11.30

As Joe Flacco took the field for the first time in practice on Wednesday with the first team, he experienced a bit of nerves and excitement to be back on the practice field.

"I think no matter what, when you come back here and you have a little bit of nerves," Flacco said. "I think it's just the excitement of getting it back out there and being able to do it and wanting to do well."

Flacco took reps with the first team during Wednesday and Thursday's practices, as QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson continues to go through the concussion protocol. Thompson-Robinson did not practice either Wednesday or Thursday, and OC Alex Van Pelt said that Thompson-Robinson went through testing Thursday morning as he continues to go through the concussion protocol.

As Flacco continues to take reps this week, Van Pelt has seen that veteran experience from Flacco. He said that Flacco did well stepping into the huddle and calling the plays. With Flacco's size and nature – at 6-foot-6 – he demands attention in the huddle. Van Pelt said that Flacco's play calling was clear and crisp, which is an element of play calling that the offense appreciates.

In the first walk-through on Wednesday, Flacco said that it took him about five plays to get back in the rhythm and adjust to the language that the Browns use. Being able to call the play and hearing it out loud is valuable practice. The reps Flacco takes in practice are critical, even with his 16 years of experience in the league. Van Pelt said they discuss certain elements of the offense, like what routes he likes, and how he feels about personnel.

"A lot of give and take, a lot of communication between us and the quarterback room, and those things will continue to work through the week," Van Pelt said. "But as a passer, he is exactly that. He's a pure passer, makes all the throws, has the arm strength to push the ball down the field and is accurate at all levels."

Van Pelt has noticed throughout their conversations this week how self-aware Flacco is of who he is as a player. And he's also witnessed his throwing arm and believe there is "a lot left in that tank." There were early glimpses in his first week with the Browns as he threw to some of the practice squad players; however, Wednesday's practice in Los Angeles solidified that thought for Van Pelt as he watched the way Flacco threw the ball with accuracy and velocity, as well as his footwork.

"He's an elite arm, there's no question," Van Pelt said. "If you put it on a scale of one to five, I'd say he's a five. His ball flight, his velocity on the ball at every level of the field is very impressive. But guys got excited. He threw some balls against the scout team last week, and guys in the back were kind of fired up."

His teammates have experienced Flacco's ability to throw the ball, especially the receivers as they practice connecting on those pass attempts.

"He throws a very pretty ball," WR Amari Cooper said. "I don't know if it's intentional or what, but when he drops back and he lets it go, the whole motion is like poetry in motion. It looks good."

Flacco said he also feels good about where his throwing arm is at, and that he did as much as he could to keeping it in shape Coming back and taking first-team reps in practice can brings some nerves, which Flacco said can cause of a bit of pressing. However, he has been focusing on making his throws with touch, putting the ball where he needs to, on time and in rhythm.

Check out photos of the team working to prepare for the Los Angeles Rams

Van Pelt said the key for Flacco as he grows more comfortable with the Browns is to spend time with the playbook – which he has done since he first arrived in Cleveland.

"It's about operation at the line of scrimmage, getting out of the huddle, getting to the huddle and then operating," Van Pelt said. "So, again, his experience in multiple systems, getting ready for NFL games, he's done many times. So just a little more 1emphasis on understanding exactly what we're going to ask him to do if he's a guy on game day."

Flacco's presence on the sideline in Denver during Week 12 was also beneficial, experiencing a game with the Browns with an earpiece in to listen to the communication between HC Kevin Stefanski and the quarterbacks. Cooper said that Flacco also approached him on the sideline to ask a few questions about certain routes.

"Just how Kevin talks to those guys, how the play calls come in our sideline mechanics after each series, and what we have to get done before the next drive, all that," Van Pelt said. "Just getting a dry run under his belt will beneficial."

Communication between the receivers and the quarterback has been a point of emphasis throughout the season, no matter who is at quarterback. Cooper said that throughout the week, he and Flacco have talked with one another to be on the same page in terms of what they see on certain routes.

On Thursday, they reviewed two routes, and Cooper said Flacco reiterated the importance of being on the same page on those routes. Flacco has also asked Cooper how he was looking to run a certain route against a certain look. With both of their experience levels, they also have an understanding of what the connection on certain routes is supposed to be like, which helps build that trust between quarterback and receiver.

If Flacco does have to take the field on Sunday against the Rams, Cooper knows that Flacco's experience in the league will be beneficial. Cooper said that much of the game is mental, and with 16 years in the league, there is a wealth of knowledge. That knowledge could come into play if he has to at the helm of the Browns offense.

"He's one of those guys that when I talk to him, I just want to listen, because I know he has a lot to teach," Cooper said.