Jake Delhomme ready for familiar foe

Here is a stat to ponder: Cleveland Browns veteran quarterback Jake Delhomme is 9-2 as a starter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That has to give Browns fans some comfort this week as they begin their 2010 regular season on the road against Tampa Bay.

"I think we've just played some decent games against them," Delhomme said during Wednesday's press conference. "Every one was hard fought and whatnot. It just is what it is."

The $7 million signing of Delhomme has been a hot topic this offseason. Delhomme is coming off the worst season of his career, where he threw just eight touchdowns and 18 interceptions with the Carolina Panthers, who later benched and released him.

But so far Delhomme has looked nothing like the person who threw interceptions in bunches last year. He's completed 79 percent of his passes in three preseason games with zero interceptions.

Delhomme also has quickly established himself as a leader in Cleveland's locker room, which was needed. He's been such a good influence that Delhomme was elected as one of the team's captains this week.

"I did my background on Jake as well and everything that people said about him was positive," Browns coach Eric Mangini said. "You couldn't find one person, you couldn't find a disparaging word and you're not looking for that. You're just looking to get to the truth."

It's Delhomme's job to keep his preseason momentum going. The Browns are projected to finish last in the division. But good quarterback play would make them competitive and a tough opponent on a weekly basis.

At age 35, Delhomme says he's ready to start another grueling NFL season.

"I feel good, I feel very good," Delhomme said. "I'm very excited to go out and play. Like I keep saying, I think I enjoy it and I appreciate it so much more the older I get.

"To think, I'm going into my third decade of playing football in the National Football League. I literally pinch myself. I'm excited and ready to go."