4 biggest Cleveland Browns busts halfway through the 2023 season

The Cleveland Browns were banking on these players in 2023 but all four have come up short of expectations

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1. Jerome Ford, Running Back

Looking simply at the stats, it might seem as though Jerome Ford has been doing a good job for the Cleveland Browns. After losing Nick Chubb to a torn ACL, Cleveland turned to Ford and they've been able to stay one of the top rushing teams in the game — in terms of yardage. Ford leads the way with 425 yards and is even averaging a respectable 4.0 yards per attempt.

The problem is that those numbers have been heavily influenced by a couple of large runs. Ford has twice his 69 yards on a carry, which means 138 yards — or 32 percent of his season total — came on those two plays. Without them, he's had 287 yards on 105 attempts which would be an average of 2.73 yards per rush. This past Sunday, he was under that average when he had a mere 44 yards on 20 attempts.

Cleveland has been hesitant to turn to either Kareem Hunt or Pierre Strong full-time for some reason, which is allowing Ford to continue to rack up yards. Hunt, who isn't as explosive as Ford, has been under four yards per attempt but he's been a weapon in the red zone. Strong does have as much, if not more, burst than Ford and has 152 yards on 34 attempts.

Strong has also been aided by a long run — he went for 40 yards on one attempt against the Ravens — but he's been slightly more consistent. He's also proven to be a solid option in the receiving game, netting 41 yards on his only reception against the Seahawks in Week 8. Despite his effectiveness, Strong remains an afterthought behind Ford. Perhaps in the second half of the year that will change, since Ford has yet to prove he deserves the bulk of the rushing attempts.

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