Chubb has a career-high 12 rushing touchdowns last season to go with 1,525 yards. However, he didn’t find the end zone on a run once Watson returned to the lineup in Week 13. His only touchdown during Watson’s six-game stint as the starter came on a pass during the Browns’ season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“You can’t really look at the numbers. Twelve is the most I’ve ever had since I’ve been here,” Chubb said during minicamp. “I don’t think it had much to do with it. I think we did have to figure some things out, get the kinks out on offense and I don’t think I’m hindered by Deshaun at all.”
Chubb has been a stoic leader for the Browns and wouldn’t be one to make an issue out of something like his touchdown total with Watson in the lineup. It was a small sample size and not something that should be overblown.
But for some elite running backs, the idea of losing some carries could cause a rift. But in patented Chubb fashion, he’s just minding his own business.
“I’m not worried at all. I can’t control what I can’t control,” Chubb said. “When the ball is in my hand, I have full control, so I’m not worried about anything.”
Nick Chubb Will Still Get His Touches
Chubb not being a significant part of the Browns’ game plan would be foolish. There is a chance he won’t get as many carries but his touches are likely to remain similar, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.
“The Browns recognize that Chubb is a huge part of the offense, and that’s not changing anytime soon. This is still the AFC North, and there’s still weather to contend with in November and December,” Cabot reported. “A strong running game will also support Watson’s more explosive passing game. In addition, Chubb will be used more as a receiver out of the backfield, so his touches might evolve, but he’ll get them.”
Chubb has 119 catches for 990 yards in his career. He caught just 27 passes last year but expect that to go up next season.
“He’ll have the opportunity to catch more passes, so I think people will see that he’s more than just a running back,” Browns running backs coach Stump Mitchell said. “Given the opportunity to catch some passes, I think he’ll be successful. It’s an opportunity to perhaps gain a thousand yards receiving as well. So I’m loving it actually. And I’m telling Nick the same thing, relish the opportunity.”
Browns Confident in Jerome Ford
The backfield will look different next season for the Browns. Chubb is the workhorse but there’s an element of uncertainty behind him. Kareem Hunt is gone, and so is D’Ernest Johnson, who is now a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
That leaves second-year back Jerome Ford as the No. 2 back and he’ll likely take on some third-down duties. Ford had just eight carries last season for 12 yards but the Browns have seen enough to feel confident in him taking on a larger role.
“He’s worked extremely hard,” Mitchell said. “We know about his skill set with the ball in his hands.”
Outside of Ford, the Browns don’t have a ton of depth. Demetric Felton Jr. and John Kelly Jr. are next up on the depth chart but neither are a lock to make the 53-man roster. The Browns are keeping their eyes peeled for a veteran back they could bring in as insurance.