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A Big Update on Browns’ Nick Chubb Recovery: Options in Run Game with His Return Uncertain

During the Cleveland Browns’ offseason exercise program this spring, running back Nick Chubb was often sighted watching his teammates go through drills.

The four-time Pro Bowl pick has yet to be cleared after suffering a serious knee injury in Week 2 that terminated his 2023 season and necessitated two operations.

Chubb’s initial statements after the injury, in early June, said that there is no timetable for his comeback. Browns executives have mirrored such remarks, noting that Chubb has been sprinting on land.

Later this month, when the veterans arrive to training camp, the Browns will need to decide whether to put Chubb on the PUP. The label would reveal Chubb’s rehabilitation status and ban him from practicing.

Given that the Browns’ running offense suffered last season without Chubb, this development raises doubts about their capacity to do the same.

“We were pleased with how the running game turned out throughout the year,” general manager Andrew Berry said. We won’t get the same consistent, explosive runs that you get with the top running back in the league because, well, Nick is one in a million, maybe even one in a billion.

The success of the running game, however, depends, first and foremost, on the quality of the offensive line and, secondarily, on the strategy. Having a game-changer like Nick on your team who is also really gifted creatively allows him to take that facet of the game to the next level. We had to figure out how to run without him, but we were successful enough. Nick, nevertheless, is clearly someone who makes a difference.

Chubb has been a top-tier NFL running back since his 2018 rookie season. Among players who have rushed at least 1,000 times during the Super Bowl Era, Chubb has the second-highest career average at 5.3 yards per carry, behind only Jamaal Charles. Since 1966, just six players have managed to sprint for five yards or more on average. He joins them.

Having Chubb on the field has helped the Browns’ passing attack as well. When Chubb is in the game, Cleveland’s completion %, yards per attempt, and quarterback rating are all higher than when he is not.

The Browns tied for 25th in running yards per attempt last season while finishing 12th in total offense, even though Chubb only played in two games. Ever since Chubb joined the club, the 3.9-yard running average has been the lowest. With a success percentage of 40%, Cleveland was likewise placed sixteenth.

The decline was exacerbated by injuries sustained by the offensive line. Due to knee injuries, the Browns were without left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr., and right tackles Jack Conklin and Dawand Jones for the season. However, Chubb brings an element of versatility to the table that is rare among players in his position. Averaging 3.8 yards per carry in 2023, the Browns’ running backs who were not Chubb had a solid season.

“You don’t replace players like that,” said head coach Kevin Stefanski. Taking a back seat and things like that are inevitable. This is by no means startling news, but he is, without a doubt, an integral component of our work.

After Kareem Hunt finished the season with 411 yards, good for second on the team, Cleveland decided not to re-sign him this summer. D’Onta Foreman and Nyheim Hines, two experienced running backs, were signed by the club, nevertheless.

Like Chubb, Foreman brings a power aspect with his 6-foot and 235-pound stature. While he recovers from a damaged anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) he suffered in a jet ski accident in July of last year, Hines sat out the offseason fitness program. However, in addition to being a great returner, he is a talented pass receiver (240 catches in 5 seasons).

In addition to Pierre Strong Jr. (291 running yards) and Jerome Ford (813 yards), the Browns have both of them back from 2023.

It is believed that the rushing game, specifically the number of rushes out of spread formations, will be modified with the hire of Ken Dorsey as offensive coordinator.

“We’re getting the ball in a lot of space situations,” said Strong. With our strengths in mind, Dorsey has placed us in an ideal position to make a move. A lot of our routes originate from areas other than the backfield. Everyone knows that run game. That will be taken care of by us.

Dorsey has implemented passing ideas that are better suited to quarterback Deshaun Watson’s skill set this summer, so most of the focus on the Browns’ offense has been on his shoulder rehabilitation.

No matter the backfield composition, Stefanski will prioritize a robust running game.

“I think we’re still gonna have an identity when you invest in the O-line and we want to live up to being one of the better units in the league,” Bitonio said. “I think there’s going to be times where they’re still gonna be like, ‘Hey, you know, you got Nick Chubb back there, you got to get the O-line, like, let’s get a couple of yards here.'”

It is expected that Chubb will return to the field at some time, however, there is no specific date for when he is expected to return. To make sure he stays in Cleveland beyond the 2024 season, Chubb and the organization revised his contract this spring.

“He’s the heartbeat and pulse of our team,” Berry said while appearing on “The Insiders” on NFL Network. “… One of the moments that we’re almost looking forward to is the first time he runs out of that home tunnel for his debut in the 2024 season.”

How many years has Nick Chubb been in the NFL?

The Cleveland Browns picked Chubb in the second round as the 35th overall choice in the 2018 NFL draft. He was the fourth running back drafted that year. On June 4, 2018, he signed a four-year rookie contract for around $7.4 million. The deal includes a signing bonus of $3.4 million.

How many catches does Nick Chubb have?

In his career, he has rushed for 6,511 yards on 1,238 attempts, caught for 1,011 more, and scored 52 touchdowns. Four times he was named to the Pro Bowl.

Abu Bakar
Abu Bakar
Abubakar is a writer and digital marketing expert. Who has founded multiple blogs and successful businesses in the fields of digital marketing, software development. A full-service digital media agency that partners with clients to boost their business outcomes.


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