With the third day of the NFL’s Deshaun Watson hearings in the books, the Cleveland Browns are bracing themselves more and more for the apparent inevitability that Watson will be suspended for an extended period that could last the entire 2022 season.
It looks unlikely they will be unable to pull off a trade for a proven QB, such as Jimmy Garoppolo, and it is even more unlikely that Baker Mayfield will drop his beef with the team and suit up in Watson’s place.
Without Watson, the Browns’ chances of making the playoffs will likely be slim to none, but they won’t be non-existent.
The team will likely have to win ugly in order to be competitive, but luckily, it does have some players who can help get that done.
The biggest such player is star running back Nick Chubb, and as good as he’s been the last few years, he’ll need to have a career year.
Chubb Is Underrated But Special
Chubb may not get as much love from the national media as Taylor or Henry, but he is very much a star in his own right.
He was second in the NFL in rushing yards last season with 1,259, and it was the third time in his four pro seasons he has gone over the 1,000-yard mark.
As a rookie in 2018, he missed that mark by a mere four yards.
Chubb is simply a workhorse, and he has averaged at least 5.0 yards per carry each season, including 5.5 in 2021.
Actions speak louder than words = Nick Chubb! pic.twitter.com/cNDKdkbhBm
— Dawgz (@cbus97) June 30, 2022
Some running backs try to avoid contact and hit the gaps, playing more of a finesse game, but Chubb doesn’t exactly mind contact.
Furthermore, the Browns have (when healthy) an offensive line that has been tabbed as one of the better ones in the league.
Cleveland’s offensive line was hit hard by injuries in 2021, but if healthy this coming season, it should do a good job of creating alleys for Chubb to do his thing.
Could Chubb Be Poised For A Monster Season?
Running backs may not be as valuable across the league as they were even 10 years ago, but when a team has a great one, as the Browns do, the position suddenly becomes as valuable as a rare 18th-century coin.
Some fans think Chubb could have a season for the ages if the Browns’ offensive line ends up staying healthy this coming season.
Here for Nick Chubb to run for 2,000 one of these days. He’s that good.
— Derek Brown (@DBro_FFB) July 16, 2021
Nick Chubb WILL have a 2,000 yard season at some point in his career
— 𝙍𝙮𝙖𝙣 (@MobleyMania) December 10, 2019
Even if Chubb is capable of a 2,000-yard season, it may not be the best idea for him in terms of his longevity.
Generally speaking, when a running back carries the ball at least 400 times in a season, it takes a mighty toll on his body, and there is precedent for such players getting that many carries (or close to it) in a season, then suffering a catastrophic injury shortly afterward.
Luckily for the Browns, they also have Kareem Hunt to help carry the load in the backfield and keep Chubb fresh and healthy.