BEREA — Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur said he was going to look at personnel groupings during the team's bye week. One of the first noticeable changes is rookie Greg Little is now a starting wide receiver.
"Greg Little has played over 200 snaps and he's going to be the starter at the ‘X' spot," Shurmur said. "I'm optimistic about (Little) as we move forward."
Little has 14 receptions for 131 yards (a 9.4 yards per catch average) with a long of 25 yards in four games. Little had his best game against the Titans with six receptions for 57 yards. Little said the change from starter is really not a big deal.
"I would say that I've been out there a lot," Little said. "I think I have been out there the most plays of the receivers. I've been out there to start some games and been in on the second or third plays in others. I don't think starting will be a big difference."
Little appreciates the vote of confidence from his head coach.
"Coach Shurmur has confidence in me and I just want to execute on Sunday."
Little could provide the deep threat and the yards after the catch that has been missing in the Browns' offense.
"When Coach Shurmur calls on me to do something, I will do it," he said. "Whether, that's going deep, doing a short crossing pattern or whatever. I want to execute to the best of my ability."
Colt McCoy and Little seem to have developed a good chemistry. On the game-winning drive against Miami, McCoy connected with Little three times. Against the Titans, McCoy hit Little for a 25-yard gain, which was Little's longest of the season.
"(McCoy) knows where I'm going to be," Little said.
Little (6-foot-2, 220 pounds) was advertised as a receiver who could break tackles and make big plays on short passes, which is key to the West Coast offense.
"I just want to be physical and run with some assertiveness and be strong with the ball in your hand," Little said. "Any play maker in this league has to be good running after the catch and being able to break at least one tackle."
Hillis Speaks: Running back Peyton Hillis spoke to the media for the first time since his agent, Kennard McGuire, spoke out last week saying he advised Hillis not to play Sept. 25 against Miami. Hillis said he felt his agent had his best interest at heart.
"He knows my heart and how I was feeling," Hillis said.
Hillis said he was too sick to play, regardless of what his agent said.
Hillis said he feels bad if Browns fans think he would sit out over his contract.
"I'm the kind of guy who feels ashamed if people think I wouldn't play (over a contract)," Hillis said. "I treat every day like it's my last."
In 2010, Hillis was the focal point of the Browns' offense and he said he doesn't mind if that's not the case in 2011.
"A lot more guys need to be involved (in the offense)," Hillis said.
Hillis said he feels he always has to prove his value.
"That's the way it is," he said. "I feel you have to prove yourself every year."
Hillis was asked if he had any regrets about his decision to not play against Miami.
"I don't have any regrets," he said. "I feel I did the right thing for myself and the team. Perception is reality. I feel I play hard and give a full effort when I play."
Hillis was asked about his value regarding his contract situation.
"I don't deserve anything," Hillis said. "The Lord gives me everything I have."
Shurmur said he has talked with Hillis and wants to get ready for the rest of the season.
"I talk to Peyton every day," he said. "He's looking forward to playing the games."
Shurmur said he is tired of talking about it.
"Because I keep getting questions about it," Shurmur said. "I'd like to move on and get ready to play Oakland."
Mack in Berea: Center Alex Mack (appendicitis) was in Berea, although he didn't practice. Cornerback Joe Haden (knee) was kept inside and wide reciever Josh Cribbs (knee) practiced on a limited basis. Shurmur said Mack took mental reps and Cribbs is feeling ‘much better.'
"It's too early to tell (on Mack and Haden) for (Sunday's game)," Shurmur said. "Once we make a determination on that, we'll let you know."
Sam and Colt: Shurmur was a part of the development of quarterback Sam Bradford as a rookie in St. Louis last year and he is overseeing McCoy's development here.
"It's the same process going through it," Shurmur said. "It's not much different. Sam had his ups and downs and had a good stretch down there in the second half of the season."
Shurmur said there are different parts of the game that both are better at.
"There are some things Colt does better than Sam and vice versa."