TheClevelandSound Posted October 16, 2010 Report Share Posted October 16, 2010 http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/...10/post_52.html Browns running back Peyton Hillis is not about to let a little thing like searing pain his thigh keep him from facing the arch-rival Steelers and their No. 1-ranked run defense. "I'll be very surprised if I'm not 100 percent," said Hillis, who's listed as questionable. "I feel great right now and with wrapping it up and keeping it warm, it should be fine." Hillis, who aggravated his strained quad muscle last week against the Falcons, practiced for the first time all week on Friday and was limited, but wouldn't miss this game for the world. "I've heard it a lot from the fans in the city how big it is, and I really want to go in there and get this win to give confidence and bring a victory back to the city," he said. Besides, the Browns really need him, especially with rookie quarterback Colt McCoy starting the game and the Steelers ready to pounce. "No matter who's taking the snaps or what team you're playing, running the ball effectively is always a high priority," said Hillis. "We have to be able to do that this week." And they'll be doing it against the best rush defense in the NFL, one that's putting up some daunting statistics. The Steelers are surrendering a league-low 62.3 yards per game and no back has rushed for more than 42 yards against them this season. That was Atlanta's Michael Turner, who averaged 2.2 yards on his 19 attempts. The Steelers held Tennessee's Chris Johnson to 34 yards on 16 carries, snapping his 12-game streak of rushing for more than 100 yards. What's more, the Steelers have allowed only one 100-yard rusher in the past 38 games. "There's no doubt they're a good defense," said Hillis. "But we're not looking at (all the stats). They're human just like we are. They put their pants on one leg at a time and we've just got to approach it like that." The last time Hillis faced a run defense like this -- in Baltimore -- he gashed them for 144 yards and put himself on the NFL map. "You've just got to prepare well for them and hope you can do the best you can against them," he said. Despite suffering the strained quad three days before the Falcons game, Hillis hurdled over a cornerback on his first play, made a spectacular one-handed touchdown grab and chased down a defender after an interception, one that was nullified by a penalty. But he was in excruciating pain most of the game, one in which he ran only 10 times for 28 yards. He also lost a fumble on the first drive. Afterwards, he left the locker room with a pronounced limp. "It was bluntly obvious (I aggravated it)," he said. "I just did what I could for my team and tried to produce as much as I could because I knew my team needed me." Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll acknowledged that it was challenging, especially because Jerome Harrison managed only 6 yards on six carries. On Wednesday, Harrison was traded to the Eagles for bigger back Mike Bell. "(Hillis) is your bell cow," said Daboll. "We were talking on the sidelines and it was 'Hey I need something here, I need a little break here,' and his rhythm probably wasn't where it needed to be. I'd like to try to get him into a flow. God willing, he's ready to roll." Hillis said he's confident he'll be 100 percent because the injury isn't necessarily worse than before. "Plus, I've been off it now for five days," he said. "It feels great. I've tested my limits some. It's not like I decided to not do any running." He said the strain is unrelated to the calcified thigh issue he had in college. "That was three or four years ago, and I've always been fine," he said. "It's just not keeping hydrated, being on your legs all the time, not taking really good care of your body." In case Hillis needs to alternate, the Browns have been working overtime to get Bell ready to go. "I don't think it's unrealistic," Daboll said of Bell being able to contribute. "There'll be a number of plays that he can translate what he did in the past. He's a sharp guy. He's meeting with (running backs coach) Gary (Brown) as we speak and (Friday) he did pretty well not making many mental mistakes for his second practice." Bell said he thinks he can be effective in Pittsburgh, especially in the running game. "It's like riding a bike," he said. "I just have to make the terminology make sense to me. They've been very helpful in the passing game." As for the Steelers' top-ranked defense, he said: "It's going to be tough, but I think we need to focus on what we do and let everything else take care of itself. When people get so caught up in 'This is the No. 1 rush defense' they've lost already." Bell said he just has to keep his cool. "I have a tendency to get overly excited," he said. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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