Browns Players to Watch: Week 3
Hunt scored two touchdowns in last week’s win over Cincinnati. He was also extremely efficient on the ground yet again, gaining 86 yards on 10 carries. Hunt was targeted less in this one than he was in Week 1. Two weeks in, Browns fans are finally starting to see how the Browns 1-2 Punch will be utilized all season. In Week 1, the Browns were losing so Hunt was on the field more often. In Week 2, the Browns had the lead, so Hunt was not as heavily involved. He only had two carries going into the 4th quarter. Hunt’s usage will likely be game script dependent again in Week 3 against the Washington Football Team. In a winnable game for Cleveland, will Hunt get carries late if the Browns have the lead again this week?
Last week, Chubb went off for 124 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. As a player to watch last week and with Kareem Hunt being a player to watch in Week 1, it makes sense to keep an eye on both of them in Week 3. Right? Through the first two weeks, all eyes have been on the Cleveland backfield as the best 1-2 Punch in the NFL. Much like Hunt, Chubb’s role will most likely depend on how the game plays out. Cleveland should have the lead at some point in this game, leaving Chubb to be the workhorse yet again. Will he be just as productive against a better run defense? It will be worth watching Hunt and Chubb all season long, even if they do not make these articles every week.
Jedrick Wills Jr.
Wills Jr. will be in a battle with another rookie that was drafted in the top 10 of the 2020 NFL Draft this week. He will be facing the Number 2 overall pick in Chase Young. Young has been everything that Washington hoped he would be through two weeks. In that time frame, Young has 2.5 sacks, six tackles and one forced fumble. Wills Jr. has played well so far this season, but Young will test him for all four quarters. Wills Jr. will play a huge role in ensuring that Baker Mayfield stays protected. If Mayfield does not get sacked again in this game, the Browns will have a good shot at owning a winning record for the first time since 2014.
Ward played great last Thursday against 7x Pro Bowler AJ Green. Green was targeted 13 times and left the game with only three catches for 29 yards. Credit should be given to the whole secondary, not just Ward, for that stat line, but Ward faced Green more than the others. This week, he will face Terry McLaurin. McLaurin torched the Cardinals secondary in Week 2 for seven catches, 125 yards and a touchdown. If Ward can shut down McLaurin like he did AJ Green last week, second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins will have a hard time moving the ball.
Joseph has been a serviceable safety for the Browns in his first two games of the season. He has totaled six solo tackles and one tackle for loss. The Browns defense has struggled against tight ends so far in 2020. Mark Andrews scored two touchdowns in Week 1 and allowed over 80 yards and a touchdown to the Bengals tight ends. Washington’s Logan Thomas has surprised many NFL fans and has played very well in his first two weeks. If Denzel Ward shuts down Terry McLaurin, Thomas is Haskin’s only other true option. If Joseph and Ward do their jobs in the secondary, they will force a lot of punts and will allow the Browns offense to do what they want to do: run the ball.