Thoughts on Browns-Raiders, Harbaugh-Schwartz and today’s
I’ll be stunned if Browns’ running back Peyton Hillis is
playing for someone else tonight. No. 1, because he’s got a hamstring injury.
Since he’s in a contract year, I don’t know who would give up a
draft choice for a player who might be with them for half the season or less.
Two, Montario Hardesty has issues with pass protection and
catching the ball, two areas where Hillis excels. Hardesty has done nothing to
show he’s ready to take over as the feature back.
Three, cold weather is approaching and if the Browns can
ever get an early lead, they’re going to have to adopt a run-first mentality, or at least a Hillis-first mentality. Yes, I know this is a passing league and they’re running the West Coast
offense, but that's still what they do best.
Other tidbits from the Browns’ loss at Oakland:
I blame the Browns and CBS for the Internet frenzy over the
running back’s inactivity in the third quarter Sunday. If Hillis suffered a
hamstring injury in the first half, the Browns should have made that
announcement at the start of the third quarter, not in the final minute of the
third quarter. (I marked on my notes that the announcement came two plays after the fake
field goal, which happened with 1:23 left.) When Hillis was standing on the sideline without a
helmet, reporters asked the Browns’ public relations department what was wrong
with him and the answer was that Hillis wasn’t injured. That’s where the
“coach’s decision” part came from. Either you’re hurt or you’re not playing
because of the coach’s decision. The Browns’ press box telephone (presumably
linked to the CBS booth) didn’t start ringing until late in the third quarter,
so Marv Albert and Rich Gannon apparently began
speculating without adequate information.
Considering this, most of the drama surrounding Hillis has been the Browns’ fault. It was president Mike Holmgren who went on ESPN's “Mike and Mike in the Morning” radio show and talked about a contract extension for Hillis and how impressed he was with the running back’s abilities. Shurmur contributed to Strep Throat Sunday by not being emphatic enough about Hillis' illness that kept him out against Miami on Sept. 25.
About the Jim Harbaugh-Jim Schwartz incident:
I’m shocked the NFL didn’t fine the coaches for their lack
of professionalism. It looks like a double standard for coaches and players,
who can be fined for wearing their socks at the wrong height.
But I don’t agree with those who said the post-game dustup
gave the league a black eye. Yes, it took away from Sunday’s best game. But I
can’t wait for San Francisco and Detroit to meet again. What if it happens in
the playoffs, with Detroit getting in as the NFC wild card? It will be more highly
anticipated than Bill Belichick and Eric Mangini after Spygate.
Also, if I’m playing for the 49ers or Lions, I love it that
my coach is that passionate after a game.