Running back Peyton Hillis was scratched out of Sunday’s lineup with strep throat, leaving the door open for Montario Hardesty to make his first career start.
If there was a silver lining to being without Hillis for a game, it was that the Browns finally saw what they have in Hardesty. The second-year back rushed 14 times for 67 yards, adding 19 yards on three catches, including an important fourth-down catch on the game-winning drive.
Regardless of how well Hardesty played in Hillis’ place, Browns fans will be pleased to know that Hillis returned to the team on Monday, participating in team meetings. At this point, it seems likely that the Browns will have Hillis on the field this Sunday when they take on the Tennessee Titans at home.
That being said, Pat Shurmur and the rest of the Browns coaching staff now have to figure out how to fully integrate Hardesty into the offense. It could come in the form of getting Hardesty more carries, but it would seem entirely possible to see both Hillis and Hardesty on the field at the same time. Either way, it’s the ideal problem for the Browns to have.