Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb may not meet expectations in 2020.
Similar to last season, the Cleveland Browns offense has plenty of expectations surrounding them in 2020. With several playmakers at the skill positions, as well as an improved offensive scheme, Cleveland’s offense has the potential of being an explosive unit.
One of the players who has a lot of expectations surround them in 2020 is running back Nick Chubb. Chubb finished second in the league in rushing last season with 1,494 yards, along with eight touchdowns, on 298 carries.
The 24-year-old running back is expected to be in contention for the rushing title again in 2020 due to Kevin Stefanski’s wide zone rushing scheme being a perfect fit for Chubb’s ability. Chubb has proven to be a patient runner who has great vision. And with his explosiveness, he can get through a hole as soon as he sees an opening.
Chubb will also be better positioned for more success in 2020 because he more likely to see better usage. Last season, Freddie Kitchens struggled to stick with the run and consistently use Chubb. There would be spurts Chubb would get the ball often, but there were also time Chubb disappeared because Kitchens bailed on the run.
Stefanski loves to run the football and uses it to setup the play-action passing game. As the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator last offseason, Stefanski had the fourth highest run play percentage in the NFL, according TeamRankings.com.
Chubb may not have the touches to reach expectations.
Although Chubb is Cleveland’s No. 1 running back and Stefanski prefers to run the football, Chubb may not be on the field as often in 2020 as he was in 2019. Unlike in 2019, Chubb will be sharing the backfield with Kareem Hunt for the entire season.
Chubb practically had the backfield to himself during the first half of last season when Hunt was serving an eight-game suspension. During those first eight games, Chubb had more than half of his total rushing yards and carries for the full season, rushing for 803 yards on 154 attempts.
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When Hunt returned to the field, Chubb did not have as many carries compared to the first half of the season. Chubb also saw his snap counts take a slight dip during the final eight games of the season, including playing less than 60 percent of the offensive snaps four times during the second half of the season. Chubb did not play less than 60 percent of the snaps once when Hunt was serving his suspension.
Hunt is a playmaker who can be a game changer whenever the ball is in his hands. Stefanski knows he will have to involve Hunt during games, and it may create more of a 50-50 split int eh backfield.
Stefanski could also use both Chubb and Hunt in the backfield at the same time, as Hunt showed in 2019 he is a willing lead blocker and can clear some running lanes for Chubb. However, Stefanski will also use a true fullback in the offense, which the Browns did not have last season.
With Chubb and Hunt splitting time in the backfield and also likely splitting touches, there may not be as many opportunities for Chubb to be in contention for the rushing title again in 2020, which seems to be the expectations surround the running back this upcoming season. Chubb and Hunt could both have 1,000 rushing yard seasons, but it could be hard for Chubb to reach the expectations people have for him in 2020.