BEREA, Ohio — Eric Mangini made it very clear by trading away Jerome Harrison and waiving James Davis, what type of running back he wants. He prefers the big, physical, punishing style of runners.
Peyton Hillis hasn’t disappointed.
Through seven games, Hillis has 460 yards rushing on 104 carries (4.4 yards per carry), including five touchdowns. He also is second on the team with 27 receptions for 193 yards (7.1), including a touchdown.
Mangini was asked if he knew what kind of player Hillis was when the Browns traded Brady Quinn for him.
“I felt I had a pretty good idea of knowing who he was when he ran all over us in New York,” Mangini said. “He’s never had the opportunity to be the full time starter over the course of a full season.”
If his statistics through seven games is prorated over a season, he would rush for 1,051 yards with 11 touchdowns.
“He’s going to have the opportunity here and I’m excited to see what he will do over the course of the season,” Mangini said.
Against the Saints, the Browns were able to run the ball and take 7 minutes, 34 seconds off the clock in the fourth quarter That kept Drew Brees off the field. Hillis carried the ball seven times on that drive for 38 yards. He also threw a pass to Colt McCoy for 13 yards.
“It was especially (gratifying), in that situation when you’re playing the defending Super Bowl Champions at their place and you’re trying to run the clock out,” Hillis said. “They know you’re running the ball and you run on them. It’s a great feeling.”
Hillis feels if the Browns can be successful running the ball when teams are expecting it, good things will continue to happen.
“It’s good because they’ll bring nine guys in the box and they know you’re running,” he said. “If you can run in those situations, the coaches know you can run in any situation. If you can succeed in that situation, you can put the game away.”
Mangini said he expects the Browns to be able to run the ball when they want to.
With the bye week, Hillis will be able to rest his body back in Arkansas this weekend, as his physical style can not only wear defenses down, but his own body.
“The bye will help everybody get over bumps and bruises,” Mangini said. “But, I don’t think (Hillis) lost any of his physical play the past two weeks. He’s still running over defenders.”
Mangini said the Hillis’ style of running wears down defenses and allows him to be even more successful late in games, as he was in New Orleans.
“We’d like to give him the ball enough times because his physical style of play pays off in the fourth quarter," Mangini said.
Seneca Update: Seneca Wallace was in the locker room walking in flip flops and walking without a limp. He says there’s a good chance he’ll be ready after the bye.
“I lost the (walking) boot on Monday,” he said. “I’m done with the boot.”
Wallace said he thought he played well before getting injured, but doesn’t know what the coaches will do.
“I think I played well and made my case (to play),” he said. “At the end of the day, I think the coaches will go with who they think is the best option to help us win.”
Jake Delhomme was not in the locker room during the period open to the media and Mangini said that neither Wallace nor Mangini would practice before next Wednesday.
John St. Clair was in the locker room without the walking boot. Besides, Wallace, Delhomme and St. Clair not practicing, Eric Steinbach sat out Wednesday’s practice with soreness.
Mangini said St. Clair might be available next week.
“I don’t think it’s a slam dunk, but I am hoping for that.”
Bowens Honored: Linebacker David Bowens was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Saints. Bowens had two interceptions that were both returned for touchdowns in the Browns win. His feat joined Ken Norton (1995) and Derrick Johnson (Jan. 3/3/2010) as the only linebackers in the NFL since 1970 to record two interception returns for touchdowns in a game.
Bowens said he feels his experience helped him be in the proper position to make the plays.
“I think having been able to play linebacker in recent years allowed me to be in the right place to make the plays,” he said.
Mangini is a big fan of Bowens, as he was one of the Jets players he brought with him to the Browns in 2009.
“That’s great for him,” Mangini said. “It’s probably overdue and well deserved.”
He was also the first Browns player since Bobby Franklin against the Chicago Bears on Dec. 11, 1960 to return two interceptions for a touchdown.
It is the first time in Bowens’ 12-year career he has won the award. The last Browns defensive player to do so was Eric Wright during the 2008 season.