In the hours before kickoff on Sunday, there was a report that some Browns players thought Peyton Hillis staged a sick-out in Week Three to protest his lack of a new contract by sitting out with strep throat.
Hillis strongly denied the claim after the Browns were thrashed by the Titans 31-13, as did coach Pat Shurmur, but all wasn’t well with the running back. He made it pretty clear after the game that he wasn’t thrilled with getting just 10 carries. He essentially split time with Montario Hardesty, who had seven carries, in the running game. Both men caught five passes as well. Hillis said that losing 10-12 pounds while battling strep hadn’t diminished his ability.
“I was fine,” he said. “I’m healthy. My body feels great. I’m just riding the tide and waiting my chances and opportunities and trying to get things done when I can.”
Hillis referred all further questions about his role in the offense to the coaches and Shurmur shared his thoughts on Monday. Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports that Shurmur said that Hillis should get more snaps and touches. He also said the team has “absolutely not” cut Hillis’ workload because of the contract situation.
Shurmur shouldn’t have much of a problem getting the ball to Hillis more often. He’s the guy running the offense and the guy who chose to put the ball in Hillis’ hands only 15 times on Sunday.
Based on the way the game played out, the Browns’ inability to keep the Titans out of the end zone appeared to be the big culprit in limiting Hillis’ touches. He carried the ball seven times before the Browns fell behind 21-6 in the first half when the pass-run ratio was 20-17. Colt McCoy threw 41 passes in the second half as the team tried to come back and that didn’t leave many carries for anyone.