Rookie Greg Little will start at wideout and move into the slot in three-receiver sets. Tight end Evan Moore won’t just be used in the red zone and will see his playing time increase. Running back Peyton Hillis will get the majority of the carries.
These are the personnel adjustments coach Pat Shurmur has revealed coming out of the Browns’ bye week. All are an effort to get the team’s best playmakers on the field as much as possible.
“When I look back at a four-game total of play there are certain guys that need to get on the field more,” Shurmur said Monday, including starting tight end Benjamin Watson and receiver Joshua Cribbs in that group.
While the complex offenses of today’s NFL require multiple personnel packages and formations to keep the defense on its toes, the best offenses have staples they rely on snap in and snap out. The Browns are hoping they’ve identified those in Watson (who played nearly every snap in 2010), Little, Hillis and possibly Massaquoi.
While the premise of the Browns' bye-week adjustments sounds good -- get playmakers on the field more -- it sounds like Shurmur wants to get a number of players more playing time and there are only so many snaps to go around. Little was already seeing starter's snaps, so it's going to take a shift in offensive philosophy (i.e. more targets) for him to become a solid fantasy starter, though he certainly has the potential to do so. Moore has been purely a red zone player thus far, but it appears he's going to take Alex Smith's snaps and see more work outside of the red zone. We're also expecting Brian Robiskie's playing time to decrease so that Josh Cribbs can see the field more often.
But back to Hillis, who has had an up-and-down 2011 thus far. It's good to hear that Shurmur plans to use him as the lead back, though if Montario Hardesty starts to hit the waiver wire, Hillis owners should take this opportunity to acquire the handcuff.