About the Author
Recent posts by Mike Wilkening
Here's a look at the Browns' top five team MVP candidates through four games.
1. RB Peyton Hillis — He's the focal point of the offense right now, and he's making the most of a rather unexpected opportunity to be a featured back. Hillis rushed for 102 yards and a TD on 27 carries in the 23-20 win over Cincinnati on Sunday and has now rushed for 246 yards in his last two games. On the season, Hillis has rushed for 322 yards on 66 carries (4.9 avg.) and is sixth in rushing among NFL backs. Amazingly, Hillis only has 32 yards less than Chris Johnson — and Hillis has 28 less carries than the reigning NFL rushing champion.
2. S T.J. Ward — This is a ranking based on four games of play, and Ward has led Cleveland in tackles three times, including on Sunday, when he paced the Browns with eight tackles. (Continuing his high level of contribution on special teams, he added another coverage tackle, too.) However, Ward made one very big mistake on Sunday — a personal-foul penalty on Bengals WR Jordan Shipley on an incomplete pass on 3rd-and-goal from the Cleveland seven-yard line that gave the Bengals a first down. On the next play, QB Carson Palmer threw a TD pass to cut Cleveland's lead to 23-20. Ward, who struck Shipley in the helmet with his shoulder, figures to draw a fine.
3. OLB Scott Fujita — He was quietly having a nice season before Week Four, and then he went out and played a very good game vs. Cincinnati, notching five tackles, sacking Palmer and forcing a fumble recovered by DE Kenyon Coleman that resulted in a field goal. He also made the game's key special-teams play when he blocked PK Mike Nugent's 44-yard field-goal attempt late in the first half. Fujita, who has played inside and outside linebacker, has 23 tackles and 1½ sacks on the season and has started all four games. He has been a good addition to the defense.
4. WR-RS Joshua Cribbs — He continues to be held in check on returns, and he was targeted just four times in the passing game Sunday, catching two passes for 24 yards. However, the versatilty he brings to the offense and the threat of his playmaking ability on special teams has been apparent in these first four games.
5. QB Seneca Wallace — Wallace threw for just 30 yards after halftime vs. Cincinnati and had one pass picked off, but he generally has done an efficient job running the Cleveland offense in Jake Delhomme's absence. He made a nice throw on TE Evan Moore's 24-yard TD catch in the second quarter.