Heading into the 2022 NFL season, it was pretty clear that the Cleveland Browns would need to rely on the strength of their roster as a whole, while starting quarterback Deshaun Watson missed the first 11 games due to suspension. This would include getting the ball out of fill-in starter Jacoby Brissett’s hands while leaning on an elite running game in order to hang in week in and week out.
Those who bet on NFL games weren’t sure whether the Browns could remain competitive enough to challenge for a playoff spot or make life difficult for their AFC North rivals. As it turns out, one player in their backfield has proven that he’s one of the most indispensable players in the league, as Cleveland has remained frisky.
It’s not any sort of breaking news to state that Nick Chubb is an elite-level player, but his dominant 2022 campaign has warranted a re-consideration of his place amongst the best performers in the NFL. There’s a great argument to be made that Chubb is the game’s very best running back.
Certain players need time to adjust to the NFL from the college ranks, but Nick Chubb was a force from the very beginning. In the fourth game of his NFL career, he had a breakout performance that forced the organization’s hand. Against the then-Oakland Raiders, the former University of Georgia star rushed for 105 yards and two touchdowns on an astonishing three carries. Cleveland parted ways with starter Carlos Hyde before the 2018 trade deadline, and the rest, as they say, is history.
In order to be recognized as one of the game’s best or reach MVP level, players need to produce year in and year out, and Chubb has done just that. He’s rushed for no less than 996 yards in each of his five NFL seasons, even as teammates and coaching staffs have turned over around him.
What You See Is What You Get
There isn’t a lot of flash and dash to Chubb’s game, which often causes him to get overlooked when fans discuss the best running backs in the NFL. He doesn’t have the type of super-human strength of Derrick Henry, or the zooming breakaway speed that Alvin Kamara possesses. However, he’s got enough of both traits, which makes him one of the hardest guys to bring down.
It’s more of an intangible skill, but Chubb’s vision as he approaches the line of scrimmage is something to behold. He always seems to be able to find the right hole in the defense, and attack it with a ton of burst.
Overcoming Defensive Attention
Especially this season, opponents getting set to face the Browns had to have known that they would try to establish the running game in the games Watson missed. Chubb and fellow running back Kareem Hunt would be the focal point of a defense’s game plan.
With that said, it hasn’t seemed to matter or slow Chubb down one bit. There’s an excellent chance that the running back will set a career-high in rushing yards in 2022, which is another testament to his greatness. Everyone knows what’s coming, but defenders are powerless to stop it.