Browns Morning After Takes

By: T.J. Zuppe

Browns Running Back Peyton Hillis

1. Peyton Hillis is an absolute monster. It still to this day is mind-boggling that Denver gave up on a guy like Hillis (side note: Brady Quinn was inactive for the Broncos on Sunday), who fits any and every description of a pure football player. His second straight 100-yard rushing game was just fun to watch. He looks to punish everyone in his way and has succeeded in doing so thus far. Granted, he probably is not the long-term solution at running back. It does concern to see his running style, and knowing just how physical the NFL is. But for now, he gives the Browns the best / only chance to win on Sundays and quickly has become one of the biggest fan favorites in the city.

2. Who are you, and what have you done with Robaire Smith? Well to be fair, not only Smith, but the entire defensive line deserves some praise for their play on Sunday against the Bengals. They kept running back Cedric Benson in check all afternoon long and held him to a non-factor. Smith played inspired after a week in which he did not look like he could play a snap, let alone make a huge impact. He finished with three tackles and was credited with a sack. He also forced a key fumble in the second half, that proved to be one of the biggest plays in the game.

3. The secondary was tough to watch. Not only did Eric Wright get burned on a couple of key plays, but Sheldon Brown and Joe Haden were also toasted by Terrell Owens, who looked more like the “T.O.” of old, than an old T.O. Owens finished with 222 yards receiving and a touchdown, after he beat Brown down the sideline, as he tripped and fell, leaving Owens free to make the big play. Part of the reason in the poor play was how often they were left out on an island by defensive blitzes. We know defensive coordinator Rob Ryan loves to come off the bus blitzing and it has left the Browns’ corners very vulnerable this year. The trio of Brown, Haden and Wright are better than their play of late, but teams will continue to pick apart the defensive backfield until some form of adjustments are made.

4. Tony Pashos is a difference maker. His pass-blocking is still a little suspect but there is not a doubt in seeing how much of a change it is with him at right-tackle. The Browns have been able to run behind him with force, as Pashos brings a little swagger to the front-five. That has been sorely missing since Ryan Tucker anchored the right-side.

5. Seneca Wallace still looks a little uncomfortable in the offense. Now on one hand, Wallace made some terrific throws throughout the game. The touchdown pass to Evan Moore was right on the money and his chemistry with Ben Watson has been fun to watch. He also hit Chansi Stuckey on the sideline with a picture-perfect pass. However, Wallace also looked a little shaky in some play calls, and did not audible out of some obvious run blitzes, which caused Hillis to get blown up in the backfield. That is something that should remedy itself the more reps he gets in the offense, but yet again Jake Delhomme could be back this week. If that is the case, Wallace will not progress much in offensive understanding.

Follow T.J. Zuppe on Twitter @TJZuppe

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