Seneca's Chance

With Colt McCoy likely down and out due to a concussion, QB Seneca Wallace appears poised to start against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. For Wallace, opportunity knocks and he's been there before.

BEREA, Ohio—Pat Shurmur said that Seneca Wallace is more than likely to make his debut as the starting quarterback for the first time this season. Shurmur said that McCoy came in Thursday morning for about an hour for treatment and then was sent home still experiencing headaches.

"In the event that Colt (McCoy) can't play, and as the week goes along, it looks more that Seneca will play," Shurmur said. "As the week goes along and Colt doesn't practice, it points more to Seneca."

Shurmur was asked when he would name Wallace as the starter for this week.

"It's two plus two equals four."

Wallace's last game as a starter was against the Falcons on Oct. 10, 2010 when he left the game late in the first half with a high ankle sprain and a 7-6 lead. He was 11-of-15 for 139 yards and a touchdown to Peyton Hillis. He didn't throw another pass until the last game when he threw one pass against the Steelers in a 41-9 loss.

Shurmur has high expectations for Wallace stepping in.

"I'd expect him to be able and go in and execute," Shurmur said. I've seen him execute in practice extremely well. I know he's got a history with us and our offense. I'd expect him to go in there and take us to a victory. That's what I'd expect and I think he'd expect that for himself."

Wallace said he's ready.

"My peers know that I am capable of leading a team and doing the things well to be a starter," Wallace said.

Wallace said he's not frustrated by not playing.

"It's part of what I do," he said. "You can't be frustrated about it."

Part of the frustration might have been taken out of the equation when Wallace was given a three-year contract extension for about $9 million this past off-season.

Shurmur said Wallace has handled himself very well.

"No, I think Seneca is a true pro," Shurmur said. "His feelings and emotions ride the roller coaster like all players, whether they competed in the game or not. I have a lot of respect for Seneca. I think if he's the guy that we go with on Sunday, he'll do a great job."

Shurmur was asked why the Browns re-signed him.

"We wanted him back because we thought he could play," Shurmur said. "He was aware that McCoy was the starter, but everyone would have a chance to compete. Now he's having his opportunity."

Shurmur was asked if he felt Wallace could establish himself as a starter in the NFL.

"I think he has an opportunity," he said. "Some of it has to do with where you're at. In Seattle, he was behind (Matt) Hasselbeck. Some of it has to do with circumstance, but now he's going to get his chance."

There are things that Shurmur likes about Wallace.

"I like the way he handles the huddle and the line of scrimmage," he said. "I like the way he makes his throws and how he works in the pocket but when things break down he can extend the play."

Wallace was 1-3 in 2010 as the starter and completed 63 percent of his passes for 694 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. He had a rating of 88.5.

Through 13 games in 2011, Wallace is just 2-of-2 for 17 yards, including a 13-yard pass to Evan Moore that gave the Browns a first down at the Steelers' five-yard line last Thursday. Wallace was filling in for McCoy, who was out after being hit by James Harrison.

After making the pass to Moore and just seeming to get going, the question begged why not stay with Wallace?

Mike Holmgren was asked and he deferred the question to Shurmur.

"No and that wouldn't be right for me to say it," Holmgren said Wednesday. "That's a question the head coach has to answer, really. I had to answer it, he has to answer it. You have reasons for making decisions on the field at that time. I think that's a fair question, but I can't answer that question."

Shurmur was asked later that question.

"I think what happens is your starting quarterback is deemed ready to go," he said. "We can all talk about whether he was playing well or not. Had he not thrown that interception in the first half, I think everybody might say he was fighting through a gritty game.

"Now, do I have confidence in Seneca when he's in there? Absolutely..."

If McCoy doesn't play, Thaddeus Lewis will move up to the No. 2 quarterback. Shurmur was asked if he has confidence in Lewis, despite him not having played in a regular season NFL game.

"Absolutely," Shurmur said. "In the event if Colt can't play, (Lewis) will be listed as the number two quarterback. I've seen him play and I saw him do some things against New England (with the Rams last year) in a preseason game, although it was preseason."

With McCoy still experiencing headaches and concussion symptoms sometimes linger, there's a possibility McCoy will not play again this season. If that's the case Shurmur was asked if he has seen enough to evaluate McCoy as the Browns quarterback going forward.

"I don't want to pile on to what I've said, but I'm already working on things that we need to get better," he said. "I'm going to save all of those discussions for after the season."

Notebook

Injury Update: TE Ben Watson, FB Owen Marecic and QB Colt McCoy all missed Thursday with concussions.

Watson met with a specialist and Shurmur hinted he might not play again this season. This is Watson's third concussion this season. Watson and Marecic were in Berea Thursday.

DB T.J. Ward (foot) was limited and WR Josh Cribbs (groin) practiced Thursday. OL Tony Pashos (ankle), LB Quinton Spears (hamstring) and OL Shawn Lauvao (ankle) an OL Artis Hicks (undisclosed) were limited. Shurmur said Ward was sore, so he was held back.

"I don't look at it as a setback for (Ward)," Shurmur said.

RB Montario Hardesty (calf) and DL Jabaal Sheard (forearm) were probable. RB Peyton Hillis was not on the injury report for the first time since early in the season.

On Going after Big Ben: Defensive coordinator Dick Jauron was asked why the Browns didn't go after QB Ben Roethlisberger in the second half when he was clearly hobbling with a high ankle sprain.

"We blitzed, probably as much as we did in the first half," Jauron said. "He's not a runner. He has great size and strength and can shrug off tacklers."

Goal Line Success: One of the Browns positives this season have been that they've had four goal line stands, including one against the Steelers.

"Players make plays and that has what happened," Jauron said. "It would've been nice to have won that game because of that stand."

Taylor Made: Jauron said that he felt No 1 draft pick Phil Taylor played his best game of the season against the Steelers.

"I thought he had his best game last week," he said. "He was strong in all areas and thought he held up against the double team. He played hard and it was his most consistent game. That's a tremendous, physical team and we're going to need that."

Taylor was fined $15,000 for hitting Roethlisberger after he threw a pass and penalized for roughing the passer. Earlier this season, Taylor was fined $7500 for hitting QB Chad Henne.


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