Storyline No. 3: Are the Browns confident in their backup running back situation?
The Browns position room that will get the most spotlight, outside of quarterback, will undoubtedly be the running back room. With Nick Chubb as the team’s unquestioned bell cow back, there is not much experience backing him up.
In a perfect world, Chubb plays over 80% of the running back snaps and it will not matter who his backup is. But as we all know, the world is far from perfect, and any second stringer is one snap away from being the starter. For the Browns, that means that they need to be 100 percent comfortable with Jerome Ford as Chubb’s backup.
From all accounts, they're really high on Ford’s upper-bound limits and believe him to be an eventual starter in the league. Ford will get the opportunity to prove the Browns correct in their faith in him this preseason. Ford flashed quite a bit in the 2022 preseason, showcasing his burst and vision with the opportunities that he received.
But then in the regular season, Ford only carried the ball eight times for a grand total of 12 yards. While those numbers may not at all be indicative of Ford’s future success, it's fair to question whether or not he is ready to be the primary backup at running back.
If Ford proves that he can carry a starter’s share of the workload, even against second-team defenses, it should quiet the doubters and provide the Browns management will enough solid data to reinforce their decision.
Then you have Demetric Felton. While Felton is entering his third NFL season, this is his first season getting a real shot at being a third-down back. From a pass-catching perspective, Felton has the prerequisite skills to excel as a legitimate receiving back.
However, Felton will need to demonstrate that he can be solid in blitz pickup and pass protection when called upon. One benefitting factor for Felton is that he should see some playing time with his college quarterback, Dorian Thompson Robinson. DTR relied heavily on Felton’s receiving prowess when the two played together at UCLA.
This is Felton’s Eight Mile moment, and he may not get this kind of opportunity again.