BEREA—There has always been a lot of talking concerning the play of Browns quarterback and the same can be said about the team’s new guy in veteran Jake Delhomme.
Much of the focus of the minicamp, offensively, was on passing the ball according to Delhomme and he thinks the offense really progressed.
“I thought it went well,” Delhomme said. “We’re getting there. It’s a learning process.”
For the most part, Delhomme looked pretty good over the course of the three day minicamp and he assessed the same way.
“I thought I threw the ball very well,” Delhomme said. “If we can stay injury-free and keep progressing, we’ll be fine.”
However, Delhomme threw out a disclaimer.
“Right now, we’re in skirts,” he said. “Real football begins at training camp (when the pads are on).”
Eric Mangini concurred with Delhomme’s assessment, but didn’t want to name him the starting quarterback heading into camp.
“I think he’s doing a great job,” he said. “I feel good about where he is and he’s been with the ones most of the time. There’s no doubt, he’s in control when he’s out there. He’s very bright and I think he’s been throwing the ball well. In terms of accuracy, he’s been good.”
But, is he the starter?
“We’re heading that way,” Mangini said. “I feel really good where he is.”
Delhomme said he has really been excited since getting a new start with the Browns.
“I don’t want to say it’s different, but more of a different mindset,” he said. “It’s absolutely a blast, fresh…I’ve always enjoyed football, but I look forward every day to coming to practice.
“I enjoy where I’m at,” he said. “I’ve spent a lot of time here and really want the 20 eyes out there on offense staring at me to believe in me.”
Mangini said he’s not surprised with the way Delhomme has come in with a fresh start.
“It happens a lot in the league,” Mangini said. “Sometimes, when a guy has been in one place for a long time and he gets a fresh start, the new team is the recipient of his play.”
Mangini said he believes the offense is seeing Delhomme as the leader of the offense.
“I see the team buying into it and that’s the way it should be ,” Mangini said. “It’s a partnership between the coaching staff and the quarterback. We give him the flexibility that puts us in the best position.”
Delhomme said his biggest adjustment has been learning the terminology in the Browns offense.
“For me, it’s like learning a new language,” he said. “This is my fourth different offense in the NFL. It’s similar to Carolina, but a different language.”
Delhomme looked as though he was developing chemistry with various receivers during minicamp. He hit Mohamed Massaquoi twice for touchdowns in goal line. He hooked up with Chansi Stuckey for back-to-back gains in the two-minute offense and then hit him for a touchdown. He hit Evan Moore to set up the score by Stuckey.
“This was a passing camp,” he said. “The team ran the ball very well at the end of last season and I think we’ve made big strides in the passing game.
“The receivers have been outstanding,” he said. “They’ve been progressing and I’ve been able to get to know them.”
Mangini said the Browns were able to concentrate a bit more on elements of the passing game in this minicamp.
“I think there has been a lot of progress in the passing game,” he said. “Brian Robiskie has had an outstanding offseason. Mohamed (Massaquoi) has improved, as has Chansi (Stuckey) and Josh (Cribbs).”
Delhomme said he has no problem with the offense using Seneca Wallace, as well as Cribbs.
“I’m better than good with that,” Delhomme said. “Seneca is a great quarterback and 16 isn’t too bad, himself. The defenses will definitely have to prepare for more than the conventional offense.”
Delhomme admitted all players have egos, but he said for him, it’s all about winning.
“We all have egos, but my ego swells after a win,” he said. “If we’re in the flow of the game and the change gets everyone going, I don’t have a problem with that at all.”
After being in the league for 14 years, Delhomme really has a sense of the opportunity he has with the Browns.
“I appreciate the game more,” he said. “The older players sound like the coaches and start wearing their shorts higher.
“ I really appreciate playing,” he said. “It’s an honor to play in the NFL.”