Cleveland Browns: Peyton Hillis Needs Help to Be Successful in 2011

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Cleveland Browns: Peyton Hillis Needs Help to Be Successful in 2011
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The Cleveland Browns put on one of their better statistical rushing seasons in recent memory during 2010 but did not come through the gauntlet without some bumps and bruises.

Peyton Hillis rushed for over 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns while also serving as Cleveland's second best receiving option behind Benjamin Watson. Hillis also managed to rejuvenate the passion for Browns football through a hard running style and his ability to completely run over opposing players.

Even though Hillis' play was outstanding, he did have a good number of lingering injuries that may have had an impact on his playing ability.

Hillis nursed a leg injury that kept him limited throughout practices during the better part of the season and was visibly limping throughout parts of many different games. He also made fans shut their eyes on many different occasions as his ability to leap over defenders often resulted in some ugly tackles.

The Browns gained a completely new identity when Hillis finally found his way into the starting lineup as a mediocre (or less than) offense led by Jake Delhomme gained a completely new dynamic and began to be a strong rushing force.

Although the Browns were successful with Hillis in the backfield, it is important for Cleveland to explore other running options this offseason to help lighten the workload on the 240 lb. runner from Arkansas.

One of the best Peyton Hillis Highlight compilations on the net

Cedric Benson and Brandon Jackson could possibly be two options that Cleveland could look into when it comes to finding a successful rotating runner. Benson has spent many seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals and has rushed for over 1000 yards in two consecutive seasons.

Jackson has not been as successful in his short time in the league, but the former Green Bay Packer is used to splitting time with players like Ryan Grant and James Starks.

Statistically, Cleveland struggled at the end of 2010 as teams began to key in on Hillis and use their cornerbacks in man coverage to defend against Colt McCoy.

The Browns' current depth chart only lists Hillis as second-stringer Mike Bell is slated as a potential free agent this offseason and not expected to return to the team at this time.

Monterio Hardesty is also part of Cleveland's roster, but has struggled with injuries over his final collegiate season at Tennessee and his first pro season with the Browns.

 

Brian Murtaugh is a Cleveland Browns featured columnist here on Bleacher Report and also the columnist for Browns Central

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