(Sports Network) - Jake Delhomme will make his first appearance in a Cleveland Browns uniform on Saturday night, when the veteran's new team travels to meet the Green Bay Packers in the preseason lid-lifter for each club.
Delhomme, who made both Pro Bowl and Super Bowl appearances during a seven- year run as starting quarterback of the Carolina Panthers, was released by that team in March and acquired by the Browns soon after. The 35-year-old is being counted on to close what has been a revolving door of quarterbacks for the Browns since their return to the league in 1999, and enters the preseason firmly in the No. 1 signal-caller's chair.
Delhomme and the rest of the Browns first-string is expected to play sparingly on Saturday, in keeping with early preseason tradition, before yielding to fellow newcomers Seneca Wallace and Colt McCoy.
Wallace was signed by Cleveland in the offseason after seven years in Seattle, while McCoy was selected in the third round of the April draft after a star- studded career at Texas.
The Browns enter the preseason with a battle for the primary running back job, with incumbent Jerome Harrisontrying to hold off rookie second-rounder Montario Hardesty (Tennessee). This game probably won't factor into the final decision, however, as Hardesty won't play Saturday after spraining his knee just prior to the start of training camp.
The wide receiving corps is a major question mark for Cleveland entering the preseason, and Saturday should offer an opportunity for wideouts like Mohamed Massaquoi, Brian Robiskie and Chansi Stuckey to show that they belong in the regular rotation.
Defensively, head coach Eric Mangini and coordinator Rob Ryan will be assessing the work and impact of a host of newcomers, including linebackers Scott Fujita (ex-Saints) and Chris Gocong (ex-Eagles), cornerbacks Joe Haden (1st Round, Florida) and Sheldon Brown (ex-Eagles) and safety T.J. Ward (2nd Round, Oregon).
The Browns finished 5-11 last season, but finished the year on a four-game win streak.
The Packers, meanwhile, enter the preseason with a great deal more certainty coming off a 11-5 season.
Perhaps the biggest question mark is who will take over in the defensive line rotation for recently-suspended end Johnny Jolly, with second-round pick Mike Neal (Purdue) the leading candidate to step into the NFL's No. 1-rated run defense of a year ago. Another rookie, strong safety Morgan Burnett (Georgia Tech), should get a long look for a starting assignment, but needs to play well in game situations.
Offensively, the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Ryan Grant, and Donald Driver and Greg Jennings figure to make little more than a cameo, though the work of the Green Bay offensive line is worth keeping an eye on. First-round rookie tackle Bryan Bulaga (Iowa) is in line for extensive time on Saturday, and the competition at left guard between Jason Spitz and Daryn Colledge should also take a step forward.
On special teams, both first-year pro Tim Masthay and ex-Aussie Rules player Chris Bryan will be attempting to stake a claim to the Packers' punting job.
The Browns own an 11-10 advantage in the all-time preseason series with the Packers, but were 17-0 road losers in the last such meeting, prior to last season.
The teams also met in regular season play last Oct. 25 in Cleveland, a 31-3 Packers victory.