The Cleveland Browns could have a problem at running back heading into Week 10.
They’ve placed three of their backs on the COVID list this week after they tested positive.
Browns’ RBs Nick Chubb and Demetric Felton tested positive for COVID-19, sources tell ESPN.
Both players are vaccinated, thus their status for Sunday’s game against New England remains in question. Each player would need two negative tests 24 hours apart to play.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 9, 2021
That being said, Cleveland only has one healthy back on the roster which is D’Ernest Johnson.
They attempted to add another back off of waivers, but it didn’t go as planned.
Help Is On The Way?
Cleveland knew they’d have a problem because of all the missing running backs.
They tried to solve it by attempting to claim running back Royce Freeman off waivers.
He was waived by the Carolina Panthers on Monday, but Cleveland wasn’t able to snag Freeman.
Instead, the Houston Texans grabbed Freeman off waivers because they had a higher priority than the Browns.
With three RB, including starter Nick Chubb, on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, the Browns attempted to claim Royce Freeman off of waivers, per source.
Houston had higher priority and landed the former Broncos and Panthers back.
Cleveland did add Brian Hill to its practice squad.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) November 10, 2021
Through eight games, Freeman has 77 yards on 21 carries with three receptions for 15 yards for the Panthers.
He was mainly a depth option for the team while superstar back Christian McCaffrey was sidelined.
Now, Freeman will be reunited with his former Broncos teammate Phillip Lindsay in Houston.
Sadly for Cleveland, they weren’t able to claim Freeman, but they did add Brian Hill to their practice squad.
He rushed 100 times for 465 yards and one touchdown through 16 games with the Atlanta Falcons last year.
The fifth-year back could be useful depth for Cleveland while a majority of their backs are sidelined.
Time To Trust Johnson?
It seems like the Browns might be forced to have D’Ernest Johnson as their featured back in Week 10.
There is a chance that Kareem Hunt returns this week, but it’s uncertain if he’ll be ready in time to play.
That being said, Johnson could be asked to be the workhorse back against New England.
Fans certainly remember Johnson’s epic 146-yard performance against the Denver Broncos earlier in the season.
Just a reminder that when last given the feature role D'Ernest Johnson torched the Broncos to the the tune of 146 yards and a TD to boot.
Business as usual.
D'Ernest dominates. pic.twitter.com/9AusRomqR0
— Nick Karns (@karnsies817) November 9, 2021
It appears the Browns are in safe hands with Johnson while the rest of the backs recover.
Obviously, adding Freeman to the roster would’ve been nice depth for the team.
However, he likely would’ve been cut once Chubb and Hunt are healthy again.
For now, Browns fans will have to wait and see what happens with Chubb and Felton.
Otherwise, it seems like Johnson will be the lead back against the Patriots in Week 10.