BEREA, Ohio — As the Browns return to work after the bye week, one thing still remains a constant:
Eric Mangini still shares little about the quarterback situation.
"Jake (Delhomme) and Seneca (Wallace) are both a lot better after the bye," Mangini said. "Seneca is probably a little closer than Jake, but we'll see Wednesday."
Wallace was held out of practice Monday, but looked close to being ready in the locker room. His ankle did not appear swollen. He said he hopes to practice Wednesday and to play Sunday against New England. Meanwhile, Delhomme was not in the locker room during the open session to the media.
"Every day it is getting better," Wallace said. "I'm rehabbing and doing the right things. Hopefully, I'll continue to get better and get out there Wednesday."
When asked about playing Sunday, he said.
"I want to try my best to be ready on Sunday," he said. "This is my first time missing significant time. I want to be out there playing and contribute."
Rookie Colt McCoy has started the past two games on the road and played reasonably well. With the Browns at 2-5, Mangini and the coaching staff has to decide if it make sense to switch back to Wallace or Delhomme. Mangini was on record earlier in the season that Delhomme was the clear cut starter when he was healthy.
The wiggle room is what degree of health. Is he 80 percent, 90 percent or 100 percent?
Wallace was playing well when he suffered a high ankle sprain against the Falcons and he stated last week that he felt he should return as the starter when he's ready.
The question is does a player not lose his starting job to injury, even if he was a backup to begin with.
"I don't think any rule is hard and fast," Mangini said. "I think it would be a good situation to choose between two good options. It's not like either guy went in and now you're looking at another alternative."
Wallace offered the politically correct view on Monday when asked if he should be the starter.
"If you're playing well and you get injured, it still comes down to the coach's decision at the end of the day," he said. "I can't say. We'll leave it up to the coaches."
Wallace was asked if he was told anything by the coaches when he was playing.
"We had talks, ‘You're playing good, just keep it up'," he said. "All three of us can just let our game speak for us and see what happens out there."
The offense looked about as sharp as it has this season when he suffered the high ankle sprain against the Falcons.
"To go down with the injury was devastating," Wallace said. "But, it's part of the game and you just have to work to get back."
Mangini was with the Patriots when Drew Bledsoe was injured and Tom Brady took over and never looked back when Bledsoe returned from injury.
"We were rolling pretty good and whatever the decision was, the decision was," Mangini said. "It worked out pretty well for us and I hope all the decisions work out that well."
If McCoy were to start against the Patriots, it would be his first start at home. However, Mangini said that he wasn't going to start McCoy just for a boost with the fans.
"There's always energy in the stadium," he said. "My goal is to try and win the game and get the best group out there."
Mangini said that it would be a disservice to the team if they give up on the season and just try to play for the future.
"It would be the guy who gives you the chance to win the particular game," he said. "We're playing to win the games and not for a developmental mode.
"That would be the case if Colt had gone in and not done very well. You're not going to get something past a group of guys (on the team). (McCoy's) gone in and done some good things.
"You're trying (to make playing time) to be merit based as opposed to where someone is drafted or how much money he is making. It doesn't matter how you got here, but rather it's what you've done since you been here."
Mangini was asked if there has been any discussion on putting Delhomme on injured reserve.
"That's nothing we've talked about with Jake," Mangini said. "He's progressing and that hasn't been in the discussion."
Mangini said he will play the quarterback who gives the Browns the best chance to win each week, he said he didn't mean changing quarterbacks each week.
"I wasn't thinking in terms of one week, but in terms of who was playing better and who was moving the offense."
Mangini said he talks to the captains frequently and would listen to their input.
"I talk to the captains every week and it's not a shy group," he said. "They express their feelings and you take all that into consideration. At the end of the day, everybody wants to win and what we have to do to get there."
Cribbs, who is a captain, said he would be diplomatic in his approach.
"All of our guys are capable of winning," Cribbs said. "Colt has done a good job of running this team, thus far (with the injuries to Wallace and Delhomme)."
Mangini said last week that he would talk with Mike Holmgren and Brian Daboll about the quarterback situation, but said that hasn't happened yet.
Bye Momentum: Cribbs said he doesn't think the bye week will take away any of the momentum the Browns might have gained with their victory over the Saints a week ago.
"I think there is a lot of momentum going into this game," he said. "Beating the Super Bowl champions, like we did (created a lot of confidence).
"When we have all three components working together, along without the turnovers and penalties we can win football games."
Getting Healthy: The Browns are probably the healthiest they have been, in terms of missing players for practice. Only three players didn't practice Monday. Quarterbacks Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme and offensive lineman John St. Clair were the only three players to miss practice Monday.
Retiring Jerseys: Josh Cribbs and Colt McCoy had their numbers retired from their respective colleges on Saturday.
"It was a great experience," Cribbs said. "I was fighting back tears the whole time. I had a lot of great memories there."
Cribbs said he has no regrets about attending Kent State.
"Look how my life has panned out," he said. "it just confirms to me I made the right decision."
Halloween Sight: Mangini was asked if he received any advice from fans while out trick or treating with his boys about the quarterback position.
He said there wasn't much on that, but that he received a comment from one person about spending that time with his brother-in-law, Indians president Mark Shapiro.
"One guy came up and said, ‘You have great costumes. You look just like Mark Shapiro and Eric Mangini."
Mangini was asked if he saw many kids dressed up like Colt McCoy.
"I saw a couple of Josh Cribbs," he said. "Complete with dreads."