Peyton Hillis working out nicely for Browns

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:31 PM ET

In Denver, they’re calling the Peyton Hillis-for-Brady Quinn trade “the worst in Broncos history.”

Hard to argue.

All Hillis has done is rush for 644 yards with the Cleveland Browns, including 184 yards Sunday in the Browns upset win over the New England Patriots. It was his third 100-plus yard game of the year. He’s also caught 30 passes for 229 yards and a TD.

It’s a curious transaction — the Browns also got a sixth-round draft pick — for a couple of reasons. First of all, the Broncos are struggling at running back. Knowshon Moreno is the feature back but he has yet to rush for 100 yards in an NFL game. As a team, Denver has rushed for 538 yards or more than 100 less than Hillis by himself for Cleveland.

Second, Quinn has remained inactive almost the entire season, listed only as an emergency backup.

It wasn’t as if Hillis was a stiff for the Broncos. In 2008, he rushed for 343 yards and a 5.0 average per carry with five TDs. At the time of the trade, Josh McDaniels, the Broncos coach-GM, said Hillis didn’t fit in with the Denver offensive plans.

With Kyle Orton filling the air with footballs, that may be true, but Hillis would still look good in that backfield.

McNabb Amused

Whatever Mike Shanahan’s rationale was for benching Donovan McNabb in the final minutes of a Washington loss to Detroit 10 days ago, McNabb made it clear that “not knowing the playbook” is absurd.

“That is hilarious to me. That is really funny to me,” McNabb said Tuesday during his weekly appearance on ESPN980. “For everyone who may not have heard any of this, it’s probably a shock to them.”

McNabb and Shanahan have talked privately and McNabb is satisfied the issue is behind him.

Shanahan said initially he had used Rex Grossman because Grossman had a better grasp of the two-minute offence. Later, he suggested that health reasons had prevented McNabb from practising the no-huddle offence and that McNabb didn’t have the “cardiovascular endurance” to do it.

Merriman Says He’s Ready

Shawne Merriman, claimed on waivers by the Buffalo Bills last week, expects to suit up with the Bills in practice on Wednesday.

“I’m pretty sure I’m practising this week,” Merriman said. “I don’t know what the plan is later on in the week, but I’ll prepare like I’ll play.”

No decision has been made by the Bills staff if Merriman is ready to contribute in a game situation. Head coach Chan Galey has suggested Merriman might see spot duty to start with.

Merriman said reports that he has no intention to stay in Buffalo after this season are false.

The three-time Pro Bowl LB refuted the report.

“Not at all,” he said. “That’s not my focus. My focus is to come in and help the defence get better. Whatever capacity they want to use me I’m going to be here.”

Playing Games

Eric Mangini’s reluctance to name Colt McCoy his starting QB for Cleveland’s game against the New York Jets this week is more about gamesmanship than it is about uncertainty.

Mangini has been suggesting that Seneca Wallace might get the nod but it’s looking more and more like a weak attempt at misdirection than anything.

“(McCoy) is making the discussion harder and harder each week,” Mangini said. “We’ll see where Colt and Seneca are and we’ll have that discussion. But (McCoy’s) definitely making it a lot harder.”

Really? All McCoy has done in his three starts is face the Steelers, the Saints and the Patriots, beating Hall of Fame quarterbacks Drew Brees and Tom Brady in the process. And you’re debating about Seneca Wallace?

Putting D Back In Dallas

Jerry Jones went from a Wade Phillips backer to a Wade Phillips sacker in a short period of time, the time it took for him to realize that the Dallas defence was a mess.

Along with his role as head coach, Phillips was also the defensive coordinator. In the past three games, the defence has yielded an average of 40.1 pts/per/game.

“When we started having the problems we’re having over (on defence), that compounded the overall team thing,” Jones told a press conference Tuesday.

“There was a lot of me in denial for at least the last couple of ball games. So I think all of that came to bear with the reason I’m sitting here today with this coaching change.”

ken.fidlin@sunmedia.ca


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