BEREA, Ohio— The offensive line was short four players in practice Tuesday morning as Floyd Womack (knee), John St. Clair (undisclosed), Shawn Lauvao (personal) and Tony Pashos (shoulder) missed practice.
Mangini said that Lauvao is excused for the rest of the week for personal reasons and he may or may not play in the game Saturday, and Womack will most likely miss the rest of the preseason. Mangini didn’t say why St. Clair missed practice, but indicated he might miss a couple more.
“(Womack) is dealing with the knee issues he’s had,” Mangini said. “He will miss the rest of the preseason and then we’ll evaluate him at the end of the preseason. (With Lauvao), it’s a personal issue and I expect for him to be back next week. That’s why versatility is as important as it is on the offensive line.”
Mangini was asked if the Browns would bring more offensive lineman in. They signed John Malecki, an undrafted free agent rookie, earlier in the week.
“We’ll look at it, but everybody kind of goes through this,” Mangini said.
Mangini said it’s not time to push the panic button.
“Shawn is going to be back,” he said. “There’s nothing physically wrong with him it’s just a situation that we all have in our lives that we have to deal with and I expect him back next week. I thought he did a really good job with the first team against the Packers. Tony (Pashos) will be back and we have some other candidates in Billy Yates and Pat Murray that have done a nice job.”
Offensive lineman Scott Kooistra, an eight-year veteran, worked at right tackle with the starting unit and Yates was at right guard. At another time, Kooistra was at right guard and Paul Fanaika was at right tackle. Kooistra signed with the Browns at the tail end of last season after the Bengals released him.
“It’s a new system and everybody is getting adjusted,” Kooistra said. “We’re down a couple of guys but we have to do what we have to do. Some guys get put in a tough spot, but it’s our job to step in.”
Kooistra says the Browns are built for flexibility.
“This is a versatile group,” he said. “We have centers who can play guard and guards who can play both tackle positions. It helps you build some camaraderie and helps you to get to know the other guys next to you.”
Zastudil Done: The Browns suffered a big blow to their special teams as P Dave Zastudil was placed on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday.
“We put Dave on injured reserve as his knee wasn’t responding the way we wanted,” Mangini said. “He worked hard at it and he wasn’t able to turn the corner.”
Zastudil started training camp, but then disappeared from practice sessions and last week was in Colorado spending time with the doctor who performed the surgery.
“We went through all the steps and his doctor and our doctors have worked closely together,” Mangini said. “I think we were trying to be as cautious as we could throughout the process to try to get him to where he needed to be.”
Last season, Zastudil played in eight games before being placed on injured reserve with the right knee injury. He averaged 44.7 yards a punt and had 25 punts inside the 20. In his eight-year career, Zastudil’s career average is 42.7.
With Zastudil out, Mangini said that he is comfortable with Reggie Hodges and gave him a vote of confidence to be the team’s punter.
“I thought he did a good job, not only punting, but as the holder,” Mangini said.
Hodges joined the Browns for the second half of the season and averaged 39.8 yards a kick, including 15 inside the 20. He had a long of 54 yards and has averaged 40.0 in his first three years in the NFL.
Mangini was asked if he felt he needed to bring in another punter.
“I really like the things Reggie has done for us last year and I am comfortable with having him here.”
Mangini did not say if Zastudil would need more surgery on his right knee, which is his plant foot. He also said that he expects Zastudil to make it back on the field next season. Zastudil turns 32 in October.
“The only thing I know about Dave is he’s so conscientious and everybody responds differently to injuries,” he said. “I know Dave and he’ll do everything he can to get back on the field.”
Injury Update: Other players not practicing were DB Brandon McDonald (ankle) and RB James Davis (undisclosed). LB D’Qwell Jackson (pectoral) watched practice from a golf cart located in the field house.
“All of the guys who are out are trying to put their best foot forward and be out there,” Mangini said.
McCoy, Hillis, Brown Back: QB Colt McCoy was back at practice after suffering an injury to his hand against the Packers. He threw a nice spiral down the deep middle of the field to TE Ben Watson. RB Peyton Hillis was back at practice after leaving the field with RB James Davis Monday afternoon during practice. LB Titus Brown was also back at practice and he ended up running a lap for pushing RB Chris Jennings down after a play. The pair got into a little scuffle and Brown ended up running a lap.
Mangini Not Worried About RB: Mangini said that despite several running backs missing practices, he’s not concerned.
“I still feel good about the depth at running back,” Mangini said. “Other than Montario (Hardesty), all of those guys should be available for the game.”
Missing part or all of Monday’s practice was Hillis, Davis and Hardesty leaving just RB Jerome Harrison and RB Chris Jennings to take all the reps.
The Gambler: TE Joel Gamble was on the practice field Tuesday, despite being released when the Browns signed OL John Malecki. Gamble takes the roster spot of Zastudil.