The Cleveland Browns will play the Baltimore Ravens this weekend as they continue to become a bit more healthy each week following a rash of injuries. The biggest key for the Browns, according to head coach Pat Shurmur, might be the play of Peyton Hillis.
Hillis has missed numerous games due to injury this season, but seems to be fully healthy this week as the Browns prepare for a tough Ravens defense.
Shurmur wouldn't really get into how Hillis played last year against Baltimore -- he ran for 144 yards in the first game, but followed it up with just 35 yards in the second game -- but he alluded to it when talking about what to expect this weekend.
Shurmur: "I think in the first game Peyton had a couple of long runs, that kind of adds up the yardage total and he had a terrific game. They came back the second game and he didn't have quite as much success running the football. There are reasons why and I'll kind of keep those private, but it had nothing to do with how hard he was running or what the Browns were trying to do. I thought the Ravens probably executed a little better."
Shurmur said that having Hillis back this week during practice should also help his preparation, maybe even moreso than it does the team itself, as they prepare for the Ravens.
"I think it gives him an edge because of his preparation. He came into this week kind of knowing he was involved, not that he didn't prepare last week, but there's that getting my body right and ready phase that he's still working on of course, but it probably helps him with the details of his preparation. Anytime the guys can all work together for a longer period of time, which is throughout the week, I think it helps you. It at least gives you the best chance to be efficient on Sunday."
It should make for a good game, but as Shurmur alluded to during most of his Thursday press conference, Hillis will play a big part.