BEREA, Ohio — Most fans assume the Browns will keep three quarterbacks, but head coach Eric Mangini is keeping his options open. The Browns could have as few as two quarterbacks and as many as four.
The conventional thinking is that besides Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace, rookie Colt McCoy would be kept over Brett Ratliff as the third quarterback. McCoy was drafted in the third round and he has the potential of developing into the future quarterback of the Browns.
Mangini said it might come down to the final preseason game with the Bears on Sept. 2.
"The nice thing about the last game is both guys will get a ton of time to play," Mangini said. "That's one of the real positives of the fourth preseason game because both Brett and Colt have had some real positives.
"I will sit down with Mike (Holmgren) and Brian (Daboll) and get their thoughts on it. I've went both ways. Quarterbacks are valuable. That's something that we'll talk about as cuts get closer. I've been with teams that have kept four quarterbacks and have been with teams that have kept just two."
Mangini said it is hard to evaluate the play of the third and fourth quarterback because there are so many variables.
"That's what we want to see," he said. "Part of it is how the other guys are playing, the receiver's routes, their protection. (With McCoy) is he making good decisions?At Green Bay, some weren't the best. Now, you want to see the second time around."
Ratliff is 8-for-19 passing for 61 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. His QB Rating is 28.6. McCoy is 5-for-12 passing for 25 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. His rating is just 9.7. Ratliff has not been sacked, while McCoy has been sacked twice. McCoy has rushed three times for 27 yards.
McCoy said he is trying to absorb as much as he can.
"I'm trying to go out and show that I belong," he said. "The position that I'm in, I'm learning, studying every day. I have two great guys in front of me to learn from."
Mangini said he might rest Delhomme and Wallace in the preseason finale against the Bears and allow Ratliff and McCoy go the distance.
"It would depend on how things go this week."
Ring of Honor: There has been talk about the Browns instituting a Ring of Honor at Cleveland Browns Stadium. The ring would commemorate former Browns players who have been some of the best in not only team history, but also the NFL.
Mangini said the legacy of the Browns is important.
"I think it's important for anybody that comes to the team to understand the history of the team," he said. "It's been nice for me to have guys like Paul Warfield, Jim Brown, Bernie (Kosar) talk to the team and be around."
Mangini said he thinks the younger players of today can appreciate the play of those who wore the orange and brown in days past.
"It's good for the players to see the rich heritage that is here," he said. "Seeing highlights of some of those plays are just amazing and I don't care what decade it was. The guys appreciate that."
Injury Update: Mangini said there were no additions or subtractions to the injury list, other than offensive tackle John St. Clair is still absent for personal reasons.
"John is still away and I'm not sure if he'll be back in time for the game," Mangini said.
Tony Pashos (OT) is slated to play in Saturday's game with the Lions.
Mangini said that running back Montario Hardesty will not practice Wednesday, although he put on shoulder pads and was doing some running during the time the media was permitted to watch practice.
Expanded Schedule: Mangini wouldn't commit one way or another regarding the NFL possibly expanding the regular season from 16 to 18 games. He said whatever is decided, he'll be fine with.
"You don't have any choice," Mangini said. "The start of the season is such an exciting time and the players will be ready. Whatever it is, the team will be ready when it's time."
However, Delhomme gave his opinion.
"I think it's going to go to that," Delhomme said. "A couple of questions I would have as a player, I'd raise how much would you expand the roster or practice squad.
"Everyone is hoping you're playing 18 meaningful games and going to the playoffs. From the player's standpoint that could cut off the longevity of a players career. A player that plays six or seven years would've played another season and that would be another season and monetarily that could be a big factor."
Roster Cut Down: The Browns and the other NFL teams have to be down to 75 players by Aug. 31. Currently, the Browns' roster is at 80. The final roster cut down to 53 is Sept. 4.