What To Do About the Logjam of Browns Running Backs


Cleveland Browns Rookie Mini CampHaving too many players at a particular position is never a problem in the NFL, especially for the Browns. The team isn’t used to having its pick over players at any position; the process usually goes that the Browns are happy with whoever they can scrounge up to fill the perpetually numerous holes. However, going into the 2010 season, the Browns will have quite a logjam at the running back position.

Here are the players currently vying for a spot in the rotation: Jerome Harrison, Montario Hardesty, Lawrence Vickers, Peyton Hillis, Chris Jennings, and James Davis. Vickers is a strong blocking fullback and Hillis will be used in short-yardage situations, so playing time can be found for both of them. Harrison is obviously the starter at the moment, so that leaves Hardesty, Jennings, and Davis fighting for that precious playing time. With the initial impression that Hardesty has left on the coaching staff, it would seem that he has in a position to potentially make an impact early in his career.

That doesn’t automatically mean that Jennings and Davis are out of a job. After all, this was only the rookie minicamp. But should Hardesty – or Jennings or Davis – get that playing time, it should not be seen as a bad thing by the running backs who lose out. The Browns are out to maintain that depth at the running back position, and there is always the unfortunate threat of injury. Not to mention the fact that all of the running backs on the roster are relatively unproven – if not completely unproven – in the league, which should keep the competition wide open.

There are a lot of question marks at the running back position this season, such as: how will Jerome Harrison hold up as a starter for the whole season? Will James Davis bounce back from his season-ending injury? What can the Browns expect from rookie Montario Hardesty? How will the Browns utilize both Peyton Hillis and Lawrence Vickers? Despite the number of questions the running back position brings up, these issues that analyze the depth of the position (and not the lack of it) will always be welcomed by the Browns.

Tags: Blog Cleveland Browns Jerome Harrison Montario Hardesty News NFL Rookie Minicamp Running Back

  • JimmyDiDago

    As I see it, there is no problem here. I see it as Jerome Harrison as the feature back until he proves differently. At that time Hardesty steps in. Davis will be the insurance policy in case of injury.
    Then we have Hillis and Vickers and that will stay just as previously mentioned. Hillis as the short yardage and goal line back and Vickers staying at the traditional fullback spot. Hillis will also be an insurance policy at tailback and fullback should we have a disaster and lose more than one body.
    As far as Jennings is concerned, I hate to see him go. But I doubt he’ll accept a practice squad assignment. He was a star running back in the CFL and with his legal issues, I see him high tailing it back if he cannot latch on somewhere else.
    As for the future, I’d like to see Hardesty take the feature back job this year with Davis making a full recovery and being the second option. Harrison going back to the third down specialist/ spot starter and Hillis as the everyday fullback. I love Lawrence Vickers as much as anyone but I believe Hillis brings more to the table. I don’t know if he blocks as well as Vickers but he does run and catch better.
    Teams are always looking for a top flight fullback and Vickers would be good trade bait in 2011.

  • http://www.clevelandbrownsweblog.com Clayton

    I am of a similar mindset as Jimmy, except that I am not at all convinced that Hillis brings more to the table than Vickers. I have always been a big fan of Lawrence. He comes to play every down and gets very little recognition for what he is – one of the pre-eminent blocking backs in the NFL. He is a true, throw-back fullback. A rare breed. But he also can blow through defenders in short-yardage situations and should be used more often in that role. And he catches the football just fine out of the backfield, almost always for a first down or a TD when he gets the odd toss. If anything, Vickers needs to be utilized more, not less.

    Harrison number one – there is no alternative unless and until he loses the form he showed down the stretch last season.