Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis, top, is hit by Indianapolis Colts cornerback Jerraud Powers in the first quarter of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Browns coach Pat Shurmur met with reporters this morning before the team practiced in preparation for its upcoming game against the Tennessee Titans. Here are some of the highlights from the news conference:
Running back Peyton Hillis participated in the team's walk through this morning and will practice this afternoon, Shurmur said. Hillis was inactive with strep throat this past Sunday in the Browns' 17-16 win over the Miami Dolphins. "(He) looks good," Shurmur said. "He was out there today in the walk through, and he's ready to practice."
Running back Montario Hardesty's surgically repaired left knee responded well after he faced the Dolphins, Shurmur said. "He looked really good, and I think he felt invigorated," Shurmur said. "Like he told me, he said, 'That's the most football I've played in a while.' And it's true. My first reaction is, 'Boy, he's gonna be sore.' But he actually said he felt good, and he looked good today."
If Hillis, who's pictured to the left, and Hardesty are both healthy, Shurmur will need to find a way to divide the workload among his top two running backs. "I think what we found with what happened on Sunday is Montario's further along than I thought he was and can handle more than I thought he could, and that happens sometimes out of necessity," Shurmur said. "Unfortunately, Peyton couldn't go. But I do know that Peyton can carry a big load, and I think that's good. I've said it before, and I really do believe it: If you're gonna play consistently good football throughout the season, you're gonna need them both. I think if you're gonna play good offense in this league, there's gonna be times during the year when you're gonna need one to step up a little bit more than the other. Now Peyton is our back, but we learned a lot about Montario that I think we all should feel pretty good about."
Offensive lineman Tony Pashos (ankle) participated in the team's walk through this morning. "He's gonna make a go of it, and we'll see how he does," Shurmur said.
Shurmur said he hopes wide receiver Josh Cribbs (groin) becomes healthy enough to return punts and kicks against the Titans. "He moved around well and he practiced today," Shurmur said. "That probably will mean that he'll be back returning."
Shurmur said the coaching staff is still in the process of learning what its players can and can't do. Shurmur said he expects to go through that process for a while.