Kevin Stefanski sings praises of Browns running back committee

Cleveland Browns, Jerome Ford
Cleveland Browns, Jerome Ford / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Nick Chubb was shot out of a cannon in 2023 with 170 yards on his first 28 rushing attempts. That's an average of 6.1 yards per attempt which was well above his career average of 5.3. Unfortunately, he was lost for the season in Week 2, putting an end to his hot start for the Cleveland Browns.

Chubb was hit low by Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and suffered a torn ACL and MCL. He needed two separate surgeries due to the severity of the injury and isn't expected to be back to kick off the 2024 season.

Cleveland protected themselves by adding D'Onta Foreman and Nyheim Hines in free agency and they will join Jerome Ford and Pierre Strong. With Chubb gone, Ford was the No. 1 back and had 813 yards and four touchdowns. Strong added 291 yards and a touchdown as the third back behind Kareem Hunt.

Recently, head coach Kevin Stefanski discussed their backfield and said they "like the guys" they have. He added that this group is very versatile and praised both Ford and Strong for what they did in 2023.

"To be able to add [Foreman] and Nyheim, these are guys who have been there and done it. For us it's about acquiring skill-sets, we'll let it all shake out however it shakes out, but we have a very, very versatile group."

Stefanski said Ford had some "big moments," which is true. He finished with over 1,000 yards from scrimmage — when adding in his 319 yards through the air — and had five receiving touchdowns. Ford was also known for breaking the big runs when he saw an opening — twice hitting a 69-yarder.

Stefanski said they could get more from Strong, since he was wasn't utilized as much as the third back. He still had some impressive moments, including a 40-yard run and a 41-yard reception as his two longest gains.

While all of that's true, replacing Chubb is impossible. The Browns are fortunate to have a stable of backs to turn to, and their offense can run smoothly with them. With Chubb, however, he can run the offense on his own. That's why no matter how good this committee is, the entire Dawg Pound will be thrilled when No. 24 is back in the lineup.

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