Peyton Hillis leaves Browns and signs with Chiefs

Cleveland Browns Peyton Hillis (40) make a cut behind the block of Lawrence Vickers on New England Patriots David Bowens during the third quarter of their NFL football game in Cleveland, Ohio November 7, 2010. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

The Peyton Hillis saga is finally over. It’s a shame, as Hillis was perfect for the AFC North and had the talent to be the feature back in Cleveland for years. But his 2010 success went to his head, and the Browns weren’t going to give him a big contract after the disastrous 2011 season.

The Hillis meltdown is the prime reason why the Browns offense collapsed last year. The Browns had a new system, young wide receivers and an unproven quarterback. The challenges were significant, but we had a beast in Hillis. Sure, Pat Shurmer may not have used Hillis well at first, but having him in the backfield was critical.

With all the drama and then the hamstring injury, Hillis spent too much time on the bench, leaving Colt McCoy with inexperienced backs who were terrible in blitz pick-up. The results were ugly.

The Browns will move on, and Hillis will probably do well in KC under Brian Daboll. But anyone who blames the Browns here are just looking for something to complain about. The Browns gave Hillis a fair offer last year, but he went through three agents, and then became a problem in the locker room. He’s responsible for the mess he created.

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Mel Kiper talks Browns draft needs

University of Alabama running back Trent Richardson (3) runs for a first down against Louisiana State University during the second quarter of their NCAA football game in Baton Rouge, Louisiana November 6, 2010. REUTERS/Sean Gardner (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Mel Kiper posted his thoughts on what the top 10 teams in the likely draft order need going into the 2012 NFL Draft.

Here’s his take on the Browns:

Top needs WR, DE, RB, QB

Scenarios: Greg Little has shown flashes, but the Browns could use another threat in the passing game. Jabaal Sheard has been as good as I hoped he’d be when I talked up that pick back in April, but they could really use someone on the other side of the formation to balance the pass rush. Then it gets really interesting.

I agree with Todd McShay that the Browns could be the rare team that is willing to pick a running back high in the draft, with Alabama’s Trent Richardson the obvious name. Peyton Hillis is likely to play somewhere else in 2012, and Richardson fills that hole. But besides that, there’s a real question regarding Colt McCoy and how committed to him the Browns are. Although I wouldn’t predict it now, the Browns could be in the picture for Griffin.

I agree with everything here. It all revolves around McCoy and whether the Browns want a QB in the draft with their top pick. I can see them going with Richardson as a running threat can open up the offense and take pressure off of the quarterback. Mike Holmgren had his own stud running back from Alabama with Shaun Alexander.

I think they will naturally take a hard look at Robert Griffin III, but I think he might not be there when the Browns pick.

Browns release Brian Robiske

The Cleveland Browns released Brian Robiskie yesterday when they needed a roster spot for another running back after injuries to Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty.

Many of us were rooting for Robiskie since the Browns drafted him out of Ohio State. That said, Eric Mangini and George Kokinis were crazy to draft him at the top of the second round in their disastrous 2009 draft.

Fortunately for Robiskie, the Jaguars just claimed him off waivers so at least he’s getting another shot.

I think he can be a good possession receiver, but he just couldn’t get separation from most corners.

Browns bounce back

Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis (40) turns upfield after a pass reception during the second quarter of their game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis on September 18, 2011. UPI /Mark Cowan

The week one loss to the Bungles was painful, but this is a nice win against the Colts:

– Pat Shurmer used Peyton Hillis more this week and it worked, though Hillis needs to figure out his fumble problem.

– Tom Heckert is looking like a genius. Phil Taylor looks like a top 5 pick and Jabaal Sheard looks like a real pass rusher.

– Colt McCoy had a very good game. He was very accurate and again he made plays on the run. He’s like a Mini Big Ben.

– I have no sympathy for the Colts. They’ve done nothing over the years to develop a real backup for Peyton Manning, unlike other good teams like the Patriots. Several years ago Browns fans had to watch as the Colts played Sorgi in the final game and lost us a playoff spot.

Browns sign free agent Brandon Jackson

Green Bay Packers running back Brandon Jackson (R) scores a touchdown in front of Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Joselio Hanson in the third quarter during their NFC Wild Card NFL playoff football game in Philadelphia, January 9, 2011. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

The Browns needed a third down back, and they got one in Brandon Jackson. Tom Heckert is signing role players that fit their system, as opposed to going after big name players.

Jackson is an excellent blocker in passing situations and he can catch the ball out of the backfield. He’ll help take some of the pressure off of Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty.

What I like best is that he comes from Green Bay, where they play the West Coast offense better than anyone these days. He fits the system.

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