Mack Hopeful

Battling injuries, CB Joe Haden, C Alex Mack and WR/KR Josh Cribbs remain questionable, as reserves Steve Vallos and Dimitri Patterson work with the first team.

BEREA— Alex Mack is holding out hope that he will be able to play Sunday against the Raiders. If he plays, it will be just 13 days after having an appendectomy on Oct. 3.

"It's a game day decision," Mack said. "I'm getting better every day."

Mack was on the field without a helmet at the indoor practice Wednesday taking ‘mental reps', but if he can't go, it will be Steve Vallos.

"(Vallos) has been getting a lot of reps and I am very confident in him, if he steps in," Pat Shurmur said. "With offensive linemen, they're always ready to go and I'm confident that he will be ready."

Vallos is in his fourth season from Wake Forest. He has started eight NFL games, all with Seattle.

Vallos said he knows what Mack has gone through as he had his appendix taken out while in high school. He also said if he plays, it will be a challenge.

"If I get in there, I'm going to do my best," Vallos said. "I'll be ready.

"It's a big (challenge)," he said. "(Mack's) a Pro Bowl guy. It's a tough spot to play center. It can be challenging."

Vallos said he wouldn't be surprised if Mack is able to answer the bell.

"I don't know if I'd be surprised (if he plays)," Vallos said. "He's a really tough player."

Either does Shurmur, since Mack played against the Titans experiencing appendicitis symptoms.

"I know he's a very tough guy and have a strong appreciation for what he does as a center."

Mack said the worst thing about having his appendix out during the bye week was missing his time off.

"It was annoying to have surgery on Monday during the bye week."


Haden Uncertain: DB Joe Haden didn't practice Wednesday and his status is uncertain as he tries to recover from a sprained knee. If Haden isn't able to play against the Raiders, Shurmur said the backups will need to step up.

"It will be all hands on deck," Shurmur said. "If you don't have the starter, everybody else needs to step up."

If Haden can't go, it will most likely be Dimitri Patterson with rookie Buster Skrine moving into the third slot.

Haden was not on the field as the team practiced during the time that was open to the media.

Raiders' coach Hue Jackson made his feelings known about Haden during his conference call with the media.

"I hope Joe Haden can't play," he said. "He's a very good football player."

Patterson and Buster Skrine have played in the nickel and dime packages with Patterson posting six tackles and three pass breakups. Skrine leads the team with six special teams tackles.

Shurmur said Haden hasn't been ruled out for Sunday's game.

"Until I can tell you (they) can't play, I'm still hopeful," he said. "It's too early to speculate."

Benard Out for Season: DL Marcus Benard is alright, but was lost for the season as he was placed on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list after breaking his hand in a motorcycle accident Monday afternoon after practice. The Browns activated DL Auston English to the active roster.

Benard had four tackles and a half sack in the first four games.

"We'll make a move with Auston English to the 53," he said. "I talked to Marcus this morning. I'm thankful he's o.k."

Shurmur said he wasn't aware that Benard rode a three-wheel motorcycle. A team spokesman said Benard was still in the hospital. A police report said that Benard was charged with reckless operation and driving with a suspended license.

Shurmur thought the team had made it through the bye week with no problems, but then Benard incident happened.

"You try to talk to the players about activities," he said. "You try to reinforce with them like a parent not to be involved in risky behavior.

"You think about your players a lot like you think of your own kids."

Shurmur said he isn't sure if he'll discipline Benard.

"You have ways of disciplining players, but at this point, we want to make sure he's o.k," he said. "I'm hopeful, he will come back healthy and ready to go."

English (6-3, 250) had a strong showing in the preseason, but ended up on the practice squad. Shurmur said he anticipates that English will play against the Raiders.

"Auston will play on special teams and on defense," Shurmur said. "I think you'll see him immediately in special teams and we'll try to get him some snaps.

"He had some production in the preseason," he said.

English led the NFL in sacks in the preseason with four. He was an undrafted rookie free agent from Oklahoma.

Road to Respectability: With WR Greg Little officially moving into the starting lineup, the Browns are starting five players from this year's draft and nine from the last two drafts.

Besides Little (2b), the others are: DL Phil Taylor (1), DL Jabaal Sheard (2a), FB Owen Marecic (4b) and OL Jason Pinkston (5b). From the 2010 draft, DB Joe Haden (1), DB T.J. Ward (2a), QB Colt McCoy (3a) and OL Shawn Lauvao (3b). RB Montario Hardesty (2b) has been splitting time with RB Peyton Hillis. WR Carlton Mitchell (6a) has been active for one game.

From 2011, DB Buster Skrine (5a) backs up Haden and is in passing situations. TE Jordan Cameron (4a) has been inactive thus far, as has DB Eric Hagg (7).

Wimbley Excelling: Former Browns LB Kamerion Wimbley was signed to a long-term contract by the Raiders and coach Hue Jackson said he's playing well.

"Kamerion is doing a great job," Jackson said. "We locked him up because he's a young, up and coming player. I'm glad he's on our team and one of the biggest contributors we have."

Wimbley led the Raiders last season with nine sacks, but has just one thus far this season. This year, DL Richard Seymour leads the way with five sacks, followed by DL Tommy Kelly (2.5) and DL Jarvis Moss with one.

Unsolicted Gocong Praise: Raiders' coach Hue Jackson brought up LB Chris Gocong's name as one of the best players on the Browns defense. Gocong recently, received a hefty three year contract extension from the Browns and some eyebrows were raised over it.

Jackson was asked why he singled out Gocong.

"He's an unbelievable ‘dogger'," Jackson said. "He makes explosive plays. He and that number 43, (T.J.) Ward are explosive players. He's tough to block and he is becoming a premier player in this league. I'm sure the people in Cleveland are excited in the way he is playing."

Tripp to Practice Squad: To replace English on the practice squad is DL Kiante Tripp (6-6, 276) from Georgia. Tripp spent the 2011 training camp with the Falcons after signing as an undrafted free agent.

Pat Modell Death: Former Browns owner Art Modell's wife, Pat Modell died Wednesday.

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