The Cleveland Browns have an interesting conundrum this week as Pro Bowl back Kareem Hunt returns from suspension to join Nick Chubb — a top-five NFL rusher — in the backfield.
It’s a good problem to have, but nonetheless, will require balance for the partnership to be both effective and pleasing for the players.
Hunt has racked up 2,151 rushing yards, 833 receiving yards in his first two seasons. He made the Pro Bowl in 2017 as the league’s leading rusher and was on pace for another strong season before being let go by the Chiefs last season.
Chubb started nine games last season, rushing for 996 total yards. He would have eclipsed the much sought after 1,000-yard mark, but had his final carry of his rookie season go for a five-yard loss, knocking him back into the triple digits.
Chubb has averaged just over 22 touches per game with 154 carries and 25 catches in eight games. After coming up just short of 1,000 yards a year ago, he’s on pace for well over that number this season.
But Chubb, a soft-spoken star who tends to say all the right things, is not worried about the split workload with a back of Hunt’s caliber coming in.
“I can do whatever. I can play the role of being the main guy or sharing carries,” Chubb said. “In college, the first part of my career, I carried the load and in the second part I split carries. That’s probably more beneficial for the whole team.
“It’s all about the team for me. Whatever we can do to win, I’m all for it.”
Browns Could Utilize Two-Back Formation With Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt
A scary prospect for the Browns opposition is the thought of Chubb and Hunt lining up in a two-back set. When the question of utilizing the star RB duo in that fashion came up, head coach Freddie Kitchens, who also calls the offensive plays for the Browns, said on Wednesday, “we’re still trying to find out what we can draw up.”
“I definitely think that both of their skill sets offer you plenty of opportunities to do a lot with those guys,” Kitchens said. “They are both excellent runners, and they both catch the ball very well out of the backfield. They are good protectors. That makes them good all-around running backs.”
But the again, there are questions about Kitchens’ playcalling in general heading into the Browns’ ninth game of the season. On a pair of 3rd-and-short situation, Kitchens opted to use Dontrell Hillard instead of Chubb, who watched from the sideline.
“I roll with what’s called. It doesn’t matter who’s out there, we’ve just got to execute. I thought [RB] Dontrell [Hilliard] did a great job this game making big plays and big blocks,” Chubb said. “When he had the ball in his hand he was unbelievable. There’s no let down when he’s in and I’m out.”
Browns Surprising Favorites Against Bills
It’s not often that you see a 2-6 team favored against a 6-2 team, but that’s exactly the case when the Browns host the Bills this weekend. Cleveland is installed as an early 3-point favorite against the Bills with a low total of 40.
The Bills two losses came to the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots and they carry a defense that has top five in points against and defending the pass. However, Buffalo ranks 18th in defending the run, which may be the secret to the Browns success.