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There's a lot of mystery surrounding Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis, but that doesn't mean you should be thinking about the possibility of a trade before Tuesday's 4:00 p.m. eastern time deadline. No, it's just not likely that the bruising back is on the trade block, there just happens to be a lot of weird stuff happening with him, most of which has any significant buildup to a likely trade.
But it's still worth noting. First, you had all of that talk about the game he missed earlier in the season with strep throat, coupled with the negative contract negotiations and the low yards-per-carry totals. That's been documented. Now we head to Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders, where Hillis was injured and is now confirmed to have suffered a hamstring injury.
Apparently, he was injured in the first quarter ... or maybe it was the second or the third one. Surely not the fourth? Whatever the case, he was hurt - but the broadcast booth hadn't been made aware of this, so they spent a good amount of time rambling on about Hillis potentially being benched in such a big game.
Head coach Pat Shurmur didn't really help all of these allegations, but he did note that Hillis had been injured and was only to be used in emergency situations. So naturally, Hillis trotted out there in the fourth quarter for no reason other than that he was bored, apparently, because he was in on blitz pickup. Shurmur initially would say that Hillis went out there on his own.
He eventually retracted this statement and said that Cleveland coaches sent him out there, and explained away the fact that press hadn't been notified of an injury by saying the press box really was no concern of his. So while Shurmur is perfectly agreeable, albeit confusing, it's still an odd position the Browns running back finds himself in, especially with the bad numbers and the stalled contract talks.
Would it be surprising if he was traded on Tuesday? Yes, but it wouldn't be the craziest trade we've ever seen, especially with Chris Mortensen mentioning that the Browns could probably be persuaded - but none of the oddities that occurred on Sunday will contribute to the likelihood.
While Pat Shurmur is adamant that Peyton Hillis is not on the trade block, the Cleveland Browns running back still has had his name surface a multitude of times in recent days. With just hours to go until the trade deadline, another gem has come out regarding his status and potential to be dealt, this one from NBC's Evan Silva on Twitter, quoting ESPN's Chris Mortensen:
ESPN's Chris Mortensen on whether
#Browns will trade Peyton Hillis before 4PM deadline: "There's a sense they could be persuaded. We'll see"
The "sense" has been picked up by a lot of people, based on the idea that Hillis isn't as valuable to this year's Browns offense as he was to 2010's. Colt McCoy has become the emphasis, and more often than naught, the ball is put into his hands in an effort to make something happen. Where the team might have tried to punch it in on third and short in 2010, they've instead elected to roll McCoy out to the right side and hope the quarterback can make something happen downfield.
Madden Cursed or not, MRI results on Sept. 17 confirmed that Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis has an injured hamstring, but coach Pat Shurmer has not ruled Hillis out of the team's Week 7 game against the Seahawks.
Hillis is nursing a strained left hamstring, an injury Browns coach Pat Shurmur said happened on a carry in the first quarter of Sunday's 24-17 loss to the Raiders. An MRI taken Monday confirmed Hillis' injury, and Shurmur said it's too early to say he'll miss this week's game against Seattle.
"Those injuries can take a couple of days or they can take however long," Shurmur said. "But it's a hamstring injury."
While the latest trade rumors indicate that Hillis will not be dealt before Tuesday's Oct. 18 trade deadline, Hillis' season continues to take odd and unfortunate turns. After running for a cool 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, Hillis has gained just 211 yards and two touchdowns on a career-low 3.5 yards per carry this year as the Browns have stumbled to a 2-3 start.
Josh Cribbs was on the verge of becoming a household name for the Cleveland Browns not all that long ago. The two-time Pro Bowler has watched his role diminish over the past couple of seasons, however, and he spoke out about it following Sunday's loss to the Oakland Raiders.
The Browns' speedster said that he'd rather be on all of the special teams if he's not going to be a top-option as a wide receiver on offense, according to a report from Fox Sports Ohio.
"I'm very insignificant on offense, so I need to be out there heavily on all special teams," Cribbs said after the game. "I got the ball only twice, so that's insignificant right there. Snaps, it's insignificant. I want to help my team win. You get the ball to your athletes. I feel like where I'm an asset on this team is special teams, and I want to refocus on what got me into this league."
Pat Shurmur, Cribbs' head coach, said that was certainly doable.
"Absolutely. I'll put him out there every play," he said. "I won't read his mind. I'll talk to him about it."
It's never good to have to hear players complain following a loss, but it seems Cribbs at least wants to do whatever it takes to make the Browns better -- and Shurmur seems okay with making that happen as well.
The Cleveland Browns suffered a listless 24-17 loss tot he Oakland Raiders on Sunday, but they may have suffered an even bigger loss on Monday morning. Running back Peyton Hillis suffered an apparent injury on Sunday and now has an MRI scheduled according to SBNation’s Dawgs By Nature:
"Coaches decision" technically covers injury situations, but I would say that in general, "coaches decision" in sports refers to a non-injury related decision. Shortly after that, Cabot and the rest of the media announced that it was due to a hamstring injury. Hillis did re-enter the game in the fourth quarter, but he explained why everything happened the way it did on Sunday:
(On when the injury happened): "It was my second run when I went outside and one of the defensive backs pushed me out of bounds and I overextended," he said. "I tried to play there a couple of series afterward the best I could."
(Shurmur did not go against his word): "That's nobody's fault," said Hillis, referring to Shurmur not being able to give Hillis the bulk of the carries due to his injury. "You pull a hamstring, you try to go out there and do your best. It's nobody's fault. It's just unfortunate, disappointing."
(On why he went in to block late in the game): "I felt it was a critical part in the game," said Hillis. "I didn't want to leave Montario hanging out there, so I felt if I could go in there and do a little pass protection, do what I could do to help the team win...it probably wasn't the smartest thing to do," he said. "But I wanted to help the team win. I was anxious to get out there and help. It was a critical point, we were just two possessions down and if we got that touchdown -- you saw how things worked out with the onside kick and stuff, we knew it was within reach."
The Cleveland Browns at least made a game of it toward the end, losing to the Oakland Raiders 24-17.
The Browns recovered an onside kick in Oakland territory with just over a minute remaining in the game but couldn’t score, with quarterback Colt McCoy throwing an incomplete pass to Mohamed Massaquoi to end the team’s final possession.
It was a game in which the Browns offense again looked listless until the final minutes. McCoy attempted 45 passes, but few went more than 10 yards as he finished with 215 on 21 completions.
If the drama surrounding Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis wasn’t bad enough already, it’s going to get worse.
Hillis sat out the third quarter of the game Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. Initially a team spokesman told Mary Kay Cabot that Hillis wasn’t injured. Then with a minute left in the third, the team announced Hillis pulled his hamstring. Inexplicably Hillis returned in the fourth quarter but only to spell Montario Hardesty and pass protect. The hamstring precluded him from running, Cabot reported on Twitter. Something odd is going on with Hillis and the Browns, but no one seems to want to say what it is.
The loss drops the Browns to 2-3 on the season while the Raiders improved to 4-2. The Browns host 2-3 Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
The third quarter was an embarrassing one for the Cleveland Browns. The Raiders used a 35-yard fake field goal from Shane Lechler to Kevin Boss to take a commanding 24-7 lead after the three quarters in Oakland.
The Browns were without running back Peyton Hillis the entire quarter. Word came through late in the third quarter that Hillis had tweaked his hamstring and his return is questionable.
Hillis’ replacement, Montario Hardesty, has largely been ineffective all game. He dropped another pass in the third quarter. It was Hardesty’s sixth pass drop in two games.
The troubles with the passing game don’t simply lie with Hardesty. Quarterback Colt McCoy has thrown several errant passes on the game. For the day, he’s just nine of 24 for 103 yards.
CBS broadcasters Marv Albert and Rich Gannon said on their telecast that Oakland Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell was knocked out of the game with the Browns with a collarbone injury.
Camptell’s return is still unknown. In the first half, Campbell was six of nine passing for 52 yards.
If the Cleveland Browns can stop the run in the second half, they may have a chance to come back against the Oakland Raiders. At the half, the Browns trail 14-7. But after losing starter Jason Campbell to injury the Oakland has struggled to move the ball behind backup Kyle Boller.
It’s been an up-and-down half for Browns quarterback Colt McCoy. He’s completed seven of 16 attempts for 79 yards and the touchdown to tight end Alex Smith. McCoy has thrown into double coverage a couple times and had apparent miscommunication with his receivers at others.
After the Browns scored a touchdown tying the game 7-7 early in the second quarter, the Raiders’ Jacoby Ford quickly answered. The Clemson product took a kickoff back 101 yards to help put Oakland ahead 14-7. It was Ford’s fourth career touchdown on a return.
The Browns took advantage of a fumble by Campbell at the end of the first quarter to tie the game 7-7. The Browns’ scoring drive was punctuated by a one-yard touchdown pass from McCoy to Smith. It featured a 23-yard pass to Josh Cribbs and a 15-yard reception by Greg Little. The rookie would have scored his first career touchdown, but slipped and fell at the one-yard line.
With about four minutes left in the second quarter, a quarterback scramble turned ugly for the Oakland Raiders.
Quarterback Jason Campbell gained seven yards on the play, but came up injured and headed to the locker room with the team's orthopedic doctor. It appears he has suffered a right shoulder injury. We’ll update Campbell’s status when it is known.
Campbell was replaced by Kyle Boller, who converted the fourth-and-one attempt.
The Raiders currently lead the Cleveland Browns 14-7.
A fumble by Oakland Raiders quarterback gave the Cleveland Browns the ball back near the end the first quarter. Thus far, it’s about the only thing that’s gone right for the Browns.
Colt McCoy only has one complete pass for the Browns and running back Peyton Hillis is still having trouble getting into a groove. He’s carried the ball five times for nine yards.
Oakland running back Darren McFadden isn’t having any troubles early. He scored a four-yard touchdown on the Raiders’ first possession of the game. It was an easy drive for the Raiders. When the Browns were playing off the line, the Raiders ran. When the Cleveland safeties crept closer to the line, Oakland successfully utilized the play action passing game.
Many of the Raiders’ passes in the first quarter went in the direction of Browns cornerback Dimitri Patterson. He is replacing the injured Joe Haden.
On the first drive, McFadden had 50 yards on seven carries. For those keeping score, that’s one less carry than Browns running back Peyton Hillis had the entire first half against the Tennessee Titans. The drive took 15 plays and about eight minutes of game clock.
Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack is starting today after undergoing an appendectomy on Oct. 3. Mack was questionable coming into today’s game.
Starting cornerback Joe Haden won’t play today due to sprained left knee. Dmitri Patterson is starting in his place. Linebacker Titus Brown will see his first action of the season after being injured in the preseason. Beacon Journal Browns beat writer Nate Ulrich says Brown will play on special teams.
Here are today’s inactive players for the Browns: QB Thad Lewis, WR Carlton Mitchell, CB Joe Haden (knee), SS Eric Hagg, OL Oniel Cousins, OL John Greco and TE Jordan Cameron.
The Raiders have announced the following inactives: RB Rock Cartwright, CB Chimdi Chekwa, CB Chris Johnson, FB Marcel Reece, G Bruce Campbell, DE Matt Shaughnessy, TE Richard Gordon.
I asked the guys over at Pregame.com to give me their thoughts. Pregame.com is the largest sports betting news site compliant with U.S. law, and have been featured by ESPN, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and hundreds of other national outlets. Pregame.com has agreed to provide us with exclusive insider analysis of how Las Vegas is looking at this week's Browns game
Marco D'Angelo (Follow on twitter: @MarcoInVegas)
The Oakland Raiders return home off a very emotional win in Houston last Sunday. The game was played the day after Raider Owner Al Davis passed away. The Raiders rose to the occasion and came up with a big win. This week they face a Cleveland Brown team who is looking to bounce back from a very poor showing against Tennessee, a game in which they lost 31-13. Cleveland has had plenty of time to think about that clunker as they were on a Bye Week last week. Teams who played poorly going into the Bye will generally play well with that extra week to prepare. From a handicapping stand point the Raiders has been a pointspread darling going 4-1 ATS but they were Underdogs in all 5 games. This Sunday Oakland will have the burden of laying points, 7 to be exact. When this line opened up it was Oakland -7 and the first move was to -6.5, which tells me the sharps like the dog. I agree Cleveland should make a game of this and has a very good chance of winning this game outright. This line has worked it's way back to 7 as the public has started to get involved and they will be betting Oakland. Some may think Oakland will be pumped again this week playing first Home game since Al Davis passed away but fact is last week's winning performance was done on adrenaline this week they won't be able to match that level of emotion. I like Cleveland to pull off the Upset and Win this 23-20.
Vegas Runner (Follow on twitter: @VegasRunner)
There is absolutely NO doubt which side the sports books will need in the Raiders vs Browns match-up...and that's the Browns. In fact, the Raiders are expected to be one of the most one-sided bet teams on Sunday and will attract a ton of money in the form of exotics (parlays/teasers). With the beating put on the books by recreational bettors over the last few weeks in the NFL, it's obvious that oddsmakers have attempted to protect them in Week 6 by inflating a lot of the lines. They were well aware that Oakland would be getting a lot of action and this is definitely one of those inflated prices. So it's no surprise that sharp bettors grabbed the +7 with Cleveland when this line went up and forced most books to drop it down to 6.5. Even with that steam on the Browns from the sharps, it won't be enough to offset the public money and this line should climb back up to 7 as we approach kick-off.
The Raiders are coming off a very emotional win against the Texans and after the Browns, they have 3 straight divisional games on deck so they may get caught looking ahead. For the Browns it's simple, win the turn-over battle and they will have a shot to pull the upset or at least cover the spread. In their 2 wins this season Cleveland is +2 in turn-overs and in their 2 losses they are -1. Finally, the Browns are coming off a bye and for the FIRST time all season they are offered as an under-dog. That's correct, the Browns have opened as the betting FAVORITE for every game thus far. Personally I believe the value is on the Browns and for me it's grab the points or leave the game alone.
Bryan Leonard (@BLeonardSports)
This game has bounced around from 7 down to 5 and now back up to 6 1/2. The Browns are off an embarrassing home loss to Tennessee and in the week prior they came back against the Dolphins for a 17-16 win. So we find a team that has been struggling, but they did have last week off so it couldn't have come at a better time. Cleveland has key players on both lines as well as a play making running back either injured or in the doghouse. The Browns have been somewhat fortunate with a schedule of Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Miami and Tennessee, which has to be the easiest slate in the league. So while the schedule favors Cleveland the Browns look to be a team with severe problems.
Oakland is coming off a huge game after owner Al Davis passed away and the team rallied around their fallen leader. Traditionally you would think that this would be a letdown spot, but word out of Oakland is that there will be a huge gathering paying their last respects for Mr. Davis. In fact, it could very well be the most important home game the Raiders have had in years. Keep in mind this franchise hasn't had a winning record since 2002. So with the line at less than 7 points we are leaning to the Raiders based more on player emotion than scheduling situation.
Joe Gavazzi (visit at www.JoeGavazzi.com)
Cleveland has played among the easiest schedule in the league which is quite dichotomous to that faced by the Raiders. More indicative of the Browns at this point than their 2-2 SU record is their recent mark of 2-10 ATS. Only the rushing defense of Oakland, which allows 5.2 YPR gives promise to a Cleveland offense that is little better than the 16 PPG they have authored in the previous 3 seasons. The question for Oakland is their mental approach to this game. It's their first home appearance since the loss of Al Davis who was the face of the franchise for many years. Combined with last week's upset of Houston, it could be a tough week for them to retain full focus. Yet under first year HC Jackson, all indications are that this is an emerging team. That is particularly true on the offensive end where they are rushing the ball on nearly 50% of their plays for 162/5.4, good for 42% of their total yards. With a more efficient passing attack gaining a league average 7.0 OYPA, it makes them a clearly more efficient team than Cleveland. If the Raiders can pass the emotional and mental hurdle they face this week, it would not be surprising to see them emerge with a high scoring victory.
All of the injured Raiders on defense could help Brown running back Peyton Hillis have his first game of 100-yard rushing game of the season.
This is the first home game for the Raiders since the passing of owner Al Davis while the drama surrounding running back Peyton Hillis may continue clouding the Browns.
The controversy that wasn’t really a controversy to begin with is probably over. Despite any rumblings to the contrary, Peyton Hillis should be the workhorse on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, according to Browns Head Coach Pat Shurmur.
Theories from trade rumorst to benching Hillis in order to hurt his numbers and decrease his perceived value on the FA market have been running rampant in the time from his sitting the Miami game due to illness, through the Titans loss and beyond past the bye week. But, he is still the Browns starter, and sees a Raiders defense that just gave up over 100 yards combined rushing and receiving to Arian Foster.
If the Browns hope to have any success on Sunday, they will need to control the clock and the ball, as the Cleveland D will be getting a heavy dose of Darren McFadden. Having Alex Mack back after his appendectomy would go a long way toward that, and Shurmur hasn't ruled out Mack playing on Sunday despite not practicing.
Speaking of the defense, Browns DC Dick Jauron announced that Joe Haden is questionable, a nice surprise, to be honest. When Haden’s injury was first announced, it looked like he might miss multiple games. I’m not saying he’s going to play, but if he’s at least trying to give it a go, he’s in better shape than it seemed a week ago. Jauron mentioned that Haden’s loss would be “a big blow,” via Tom Withers of the AP.
Browns get back in action against the emotional Raiders
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