The Cleveland Browns have the best offensive backfield entering the 2022 season.
At least that’s how Bleacher Report sees it in one of their recent articles.
Top 2 backfield and they’re not 2 😏 https://t.co/7aYpQewn3K
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) June 13, 2022
It’s a sound statement considering the talents of both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
While Hunt’s long-term status in Cleveland is currently up for debate, he’ll be a Brown through at least next season.
Boasting the league’s best running tandem is high praise from Bleacher Report.
While Clevelanders know how good their backfield is, will the rest of the league need a reminder in 2022?
Best 1-2 Punch
Every year fans debate who the best running back in the league is.
Many will say Chubb holds that title, but there are other arguments to be made.
However, there’s not much of a retort when it comes to arguing against Chubb and Hunt being the best running back duo in the league.
In 2021, they led Cleveland to the fourth-best rushing attack in the NFL in terms of total yards.
Chubb finished second last year in total rushing yards with 1,259.
Only Jonathan Taylor of the Colts ran for more yards. Hunt finished 57th, however, he only appeared in eight games because of injury.
They compliment each other extremely well.
Chubb is more of a between-the-tackles runner who gets downhill quickly.
Hunt, while also powerful as a runner, has more “herky-jerkiness” to his game and is more of a threat catching the ball out of the backfield.
They don’t take the field together often, something fans clamor for.
When it does happen, positive results typically yield.
This run by Chubb last year with Hunt lead blocking was incredibly satisfying and awesome. 2️⃣4️⃣ is an absolute BEAST. Just dragging people down the field. #Browns pic.twitter.com/uo5hgi9kkh
— Mike (@big_mike9169) April 11, 2020
Wear out the Defense
Nothing tires out defenders more than guys who can’t be tackled.
When it comes to elusiveness, Chubb and Hunt are two of the best in the business.
Check that, not two of the best, but the two best according to this Tweet from Pro Football Focus.
Most missed tackles forced per run (min. 55 attempts):
🥇 Kareem Hunt- 0.33
🥈 Nick Chubb- 0.31 pic.twitter.com/Ok31rdsHUH
— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) October 13, 2021
It becomes demoralizing for opponents when they do everything right positionally and still can’t bring down the ball carrier.
That’s the kind of threat Cleveland’s rushing attack will once again possess this season.
Durability and running backs don’t always go together smoothly.
As mentioned, Hunt dealt with that last season when he missed eight games.
That’s why having depth outside of Chubb and Hunt is important for Cleveland.
Especially with a top-tier offensive line, the Browns need backs who can make explosive plays.
We know the top two guys can, but don’t sleep on D’Ernest Johnson.
Along with Chubb and Hunt, Johnson is more than capable of getting loose for big gains.
For RBs with 100+ touches:
Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt and D'Ernest Johnson all finished in the top 5 in percentage of rushes that went for 10+ yards.
This is a Browns OL tweet.
— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) June 17, 2022
D’ERNEST JOHNSON FOR 6️⃣pic.twitter.com/30ccxTgHxu
— PFF CLE Browns (@PFF_Browns) October 31, 2021
D’Ernest made great use of the extra snaps he saw last season due to Hunt’s injury.
That experience will serve him well if Kevin Stefanski looks to involve him more offensively this season.
Start on Top, End on Top?
There are plenty of other great rushing attacks in the NFL.
Behind Cleveland on Bleacher Report’s list sits Green Bay, Minnesota, Indianapolis, and Dallas.
All have Pro Bowl caliber starting tailbacks with good depth pieces behind them.
When healthy, though, the ground game in Cleveland reigns supreme.
If the offensive line holds up, look for another explosive year offensively from the Browns on the ground.
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