Cleveland Browns: Running back numbers is no weakness
By Randy Gurzi
The Cleveland Browns have three great options at running back, and the coaching staff is intent on keeping that a strength, rather than a weakness
There’s an old saying that there can be too much of a good thing. The Cleveland Browns are trying to prove that theory wrong when it comes to the running back position.
They already had high hopes for the future with Duke Johnson, their lone running back under contract entering this offseason. The Browns then brought in Carlos Hyde via free agency and drafted Nick Chubb in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
They also extended the contract of Johnson, meaning that they not only have three solid players there, but they have them for the foreseeable future.
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As is often the case when there are several options and still just one football, the question of how the load will be shared is raised. The Browns however don’t seem too worried about that at all.
Offensive coordinator Todd Haley said at minicamp that he’s not worried about it and their running back coach sounded determined not to let what he sees as a strength become a problem.
"“We feel like that’s a position of strength. Coach [Bill] Parcells taught me a long time ago, don’t ever turn a position of strength into a weakness.” — Running backs coach Freddie Kitchens, via Pat McManamon ESPN"
The good thing when discussing how to split the work is that two of the players on the roster are already incredibly familiar with this. Johnson for example has excelled despite the majority of the carries in recent seasons going to Isaiah Crowell — now of the New York Jets. While he wasn’t the primary ball carrier, Johnson found a niche as a pass catcher and even lined up in the slot often.
Then there was Chubb, who had his own committee while at the University of Georgia. In fact, his teammate Sony Michel was picked in the first round which shows he could be successful even with other talented players at the same position.
Hyde may have more questions in this regard as he’s had over 200 carries in each of the past two seasons as the San Francisco 49ers didn’t have much behind him. He does however seem capable of sharing the backfield and he has also found other ways to help besides running. In 2017, Hyde had 59 receptions according to NFL.com.
The Browns understand that all three players are talented and all need the ball. They also are thankfully set on making sure that remains a good thing.