The Cleveland Browns drafted rookie running back Nick Chubb with the number 35 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Typically, when drafting a player with such a valuable pick, especially a running back, the team has immediate plans for said player to contribute.
However, head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley are taking a different approach to Chubb’s usage despite his early success this season.
The former Georgia Bulldog has taken advantage of his limited opportunities so far, averaging an impressive 10.8 yards per carry. Of course, it is near impossible to continue with such efficiency, still it points out that this young man is ready to make a larger impact.
To date, Chubb has 16 carries for 173 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He has had several momentum-shifting plays and would have more yards racked up if penalties didn’t continue to be an issue for Cleveland.
After his breakout performance in Week 4 against the Oakland Raiders, head coach Hue Jackson stated they had to get their rookie running back the ball more than three times.
Since Jackson’s comments – Chubb has received a disappointing three carries in each of the last two games.
Sunday’s loss was yet another example of why general manager John Dorsey selected Chubb with the third pick in the second round. He broke off for a chunk gain and his combination of patience, speed, and power were all on notice.
However both Johnson and Chubb have provided Cleveland with a spark that Hyde simply does not offer. Despite Hyde’s five touchdowns in 2018, he hasn’t been able to consistently efficient.
In an offense lead by a rookie quarterback in Baker Mayfield with a depleted receiving core the Browns must focus on their run game to find success. They have a playmaker in Nick Chubb who is sitting patiently for his number to get called and, when it has, the return has been encouraging.
In Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, Hyde ran the ball 10 times for 29 yards. Meanwhile, Chubb totaled 23 yards off of only two carries. Not to mention, Chubb’s already large gain was called back for a holding call.
It’s now been three weeks in a row Hue Jackson has alluded to getting Chubb the football more. To nobody’s surprise, he re-emphasized that on Monday.
#Browns Hue Jackson on getting Nick Chubb carries: "He needs more." Says sometimes game changes, need to pass the ball more, but "we do need to get Nick Chubb more carries."
— Keith Britton (@KeithBritton86) October 15, 2018
Carlos Hyde is a respected veteran that has only helped clean up this Cleveland Browns locker room. This is not to say he shouldn’t get carries moving forward because he certainly deserves them.
Although, Chubb should not be seeing a mere two or three carries a game. That number must increase if the Browns wanted to open up more for their offense.
Defenses know what to expect from Hyde and the Browns’ current commitment to him is taking pressure off the defense. They know he isn’t going to burn them for a big gain on the outside and they can focus on Mayfield’s targets. Hence the poor outing on Sunday.
Whether it is Hue Jackson or Todd Haley who is making the call on dividing the carries, it’s Jackson’s team and he needs to make sure Chubb is handling a higher work load moving forward.
Nothing opens up the passing game like a solid running game. When you have three backs like the Browns do in Hyde, Chubb and Duke, they need to take full advantage of their versatility.
I fully expect Chubb gets more touches next week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, although this is beginning to sound eerily similar to how Jackson has vowed to get Duke Johnson the ball more since 2016.
Let’s hope he learned from that experience and the #35 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft gets more opportunities to make an impact for the Cleveland Browns.
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