NFL Injury Update: Browns Anticipate Return of Hillis, Fujita

One week after providing career-highs for Montario Hardesty, the Cleveland Browns believe that starting running back Peyton Hillis will join the team for their Week 8 game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Hillis missed his second game this season after sustaining a hamstring injury during the team’s Week 6 loss in Oakland.  In his place, Hardesty ran the ball 33 times for 95 yards, and caught two passes for 27 yards as the Browns topped the Seattle Seahawks to the tune of 6-3.  In turn, the Browns added running back Chris Ogbonnaya to provide depth with the former Texas product responding with 15 yards on the ground (three attempts) while leading the team in receiving (five catches for 43 yards), potentially leading to a role in third-down situations. 

 On the season, Hillis has largely disappointed within the box score with his best game coming during the team’s Week 2 win against the Indianapolis Colts.  Surrounded by the much-discussed drama (Madden covers, alleged free agency, etc), Hillis has the support of his head coach as Pat Shurmur told the media on Wednesday that the team is confident that their “starter” can filter out the negativity and focus on the task at hand.

Also rejoining the Browns is linebacker and defensive team captain Scott Fujita who also missed Sunday’s win.  Suffering a concussion in Oakland, Fujita was replaced by linebacker Kaluka Maiava within a starting lineup that limited the Seahawks to a mere 17 minutes of offense. 

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

  • oribiasi

    Let’s hope Pat can anticipate running him 30 times like he did with Hardesty so we can anticipate a victory.

  • mgbode

    I don’t think you beat SF by running at them. they are pretty dang good at stopping the run.

    we definitely need to be at full strength, but this SF defense is the type that the WCO was designed to beat. rely on the passing to setup the runs. Hillis could be our leading receiver this week if healthy.

    hope the news ends up being good on Watson. we need him this game too (obviously, health permitting)

  • oribiasi

    @ mgbode: I don’t think we need to beat them by running, but we need to establish the run to make the pass plays work. We need Hillis to pound players like Willis and to make him think that he needs to defend against the run and to make their corners/safeties come up when they see him in order to make the pass plays work.

    So, indirectly, we need a good, strong running attack to force their hand in passing plays.

    In this league, no matter what team you are playing, you need to run the football. How did the Steelers do so well? They ran the ball first and then passed it when they needed to. We will not win this game if McCoy throws 40 passes. We will win it if Hillis and Hardesty combine for about 40 runs. Plain/simple.

  • mgbode

    I would prefer to run to setup the pass as well. but, I am not sure that will work this week. with as strong as the SF run defense is, it could just give us 3rd and longs for Justin and Aldon to be able to come full speed at Colt.

    I think creative passing plays (where has the RB-wheel route gone or is Hillis the only guy who can make that play work?) can make SF unsure of what we will do on 1st down and then you attack them on the ground.

    Or, it’s possible our feeble offense won’t be able to do either and i’ts a moot point.

  • Mark

    @Oribiasi – I too have a preference for the run to set up the pass type of offense but take a look around the NFL. Those days are long gone. It’s a passing/QB league. Even Pittsburgh doesn’t play that way anymore. The changes in the rules have led it towards a passing league. If you can’t throw, you cant win championships. See who the best teams are now – Green Bay, New Orleans, New England, Indy (prior to Manning going down). Pass first, run second.

    Are the Browns currently able to do that? Lordy, no. But I think it’s where they want to go. I believe that’s what’s going on this whole year. Holmgren looked at how we won with Mangini and said, “it won’t work.” Ergo the WCO and taking the whole year to establish a passing team.