The Battle is Over: Suggs Wins.

Has the Two-Headed Monster been slain?

After 14 games, the battle between William Green and Lee Suggs has finally been resolved.

Suggs has won. Or maybe it's a case where Green has lost.

When Butch Davis was Browns coach, he took pains to avoid suggesting that one running back had gained the upper hand on the other. He portrayed their competition as a duel of equals.

Green would start games and then Suggs would enter. If Suggs was healthy, that is. Suggs has missed six games this season with neck and toe injuries.

When both played, the Browns would go with whoever had the hot hand.

But after watching Green tail off as the season progressed, Suggs got his chance to seize the job last week against San Diego, the league's top run defense. Suggs ran 21 times for 105 yards.

On Wednesday, interim coach Terry Robiskie said Suggs would start Sunday night against Miami. Green, he said, will play only if Suggs needs a breather.

"It feels good," Suggs said. "Of course, you want to be the starter. But I was getting a lot of playing time, so I wasn't too concerned about the title."

Suggs outplayed Green during the summer before he injured his neck in practice the week prior to the preseason finale.

Green got off to a decent start. But excluding a 46-yard gain against Cincinnati when he ran through a gaping hole before being caught from behind, Green has managed only 66 yards in 42 carries the last four games.

Green has been tackled for losses on 25 of 161 of his carries (15.6%), worst among NFL running backs. The best in that category is Atlanta's T.J. Duckett (one of 96 carries), whom the Browns bypassed to draft Green with the 16th pick of the 2002 draft. (Suggs isn't much better than Green with losses on 14.8 percent of his carries.)

To be fair, Green is not to blame for some of his lack of production. The offensive line, ravaged by injuries, has been a disaster. But it's clear to observers that Suggs is a more instinctive runner.

"Lee's smooth," Browns running backs coach Kennedy Pola said. "Lee's like a sponge. I don't think William has learned that much football until this year -- just reading the fronts, reading who blocks who, realizing that if the guard blocks this guy, his vision is going to get cut off for a quick second."

The Browns invested a first-round pick in Green with the expectation he'd be their franchise running back for years to come. When Pola was asked whether Green can become worthy of a 16th pick, Pola said it depended on the type of offense he ran in.

"If you've got a two-tight-end offense like Pittsburgh and Baltimore sometimes get in, he's not bad," Pola said.

Browns fans are hoping for more than "not bad" for a first-round pick.

"Yeah, yeah, you're right," Pola said.

Suggs still has much to prove. But his biggest is staying healthy.

"I need him to play 16 weeks," Robiskie said. "I don't need him to show us what he can do for two weeks and then miss two. I don't need him to come out and play five weeks and miss five and then look at him after five weeks and say he's a Pro Bowl player. I have always told every guy that I have ever coached is that the best ability you can have is availability."

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