BEREA, Ohio -- The plan was to keep Colt McCoy on the sideline this season so he could learn for the future. The future arrived earlier than planned.
Mangini, never one to reveal his plans in order to keep the opposition guessing, would not go as far as naming McCoy his starter. He did indicate McCoy was his top choice.
"We're moving pretty strong in that direction," Mangini said before Thursday's practice.
With Wallace and Delhomme unavailable, it's the only direction.
Wallace hasn't played since injuring his ankle Oct. 10 against the Atlanta Falcons, his fourth consecutive start filling in for Delhomme, who rolled his ankle in the season opener at Tampa Bay. High-ankle sprains typically take four to six weeks to heal, and Wallace is just one month into recovery.
Wallace tested his ankle Wednesday -- the day he was targeted to return after Cleveland's bye week -- but he wasn't satisfied with the way it responded.
"I'm just being smart and not trying to rush to get back on the field," Wallace said. "You know you gotta be smart with this type of injury. If it feels good and you go outside and do something that you haven't done in the last couple weeks, you can kind of nag it a little bit.
"It was just being smart. But there was no setback."
Delhomme, 35, has not been available to the media in two weeks. He hurt his ankle in his debut for the Browns while throwing a game-changing interception in the Sept. 12 opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Delhomme was inactive the next three weeks, but he returned as the No. 2 quarterback against the Falcons.
Still hobbled by the injury, Delhomme's only chance to play was if Wallace got hurt. Sure enough, Wallace's ankle got twisted, and Delhomme came in off the bench. Right away, it became apparent he wasn't ready, and he re-injured his ankle, a setback that led to McCoy's unexpected rise up the depth chart.
Mangini denied that Delhomme came back too early.
"No, it was a little bit different deal," he said. "With any of these things, I think when you come back, regardless of when you decide to come back, if you got hit the right way, you've got a chance of re-injuring it."
"One of the things I've studied is his pocket presence, his awareness when he's in the pocket, when he's got to move. You saw the plays he made against Minnesota. You can't coach that. You can't teach that. That's something you develop over time, and he's got it, and just to be on the field, to play with him, to see him, it's going to be awesome."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press