The Cleveland Browns‘ backfield has the potential to set a strong tone early in the 2022 NFL season. After an injury-plagued season in 2021, running back Kareem Hunt says he’s 100% healthy and ready to rejoin Nick Chubb to form a dangerous rushing attack.
Calf and ankle injuries cost Hunt nine games last season. After missing a majority of the year, the six-year NFL veteran is preparing for a strong campaign in Cleveland.
“I’m good, I’m 100%. I have some time to heal this offseason and get back to it,” Hunt said, per Ashley Bastock of Cleveland.com. “So body is feeling good, nothing’s bothering me.”
Hunt said his absence from the field felt “weird.” Sitting at home and watching games from his couch – where he had no impact – bothered him at times last fall.
“I don’t like that feeling, not being able to go out there and help the team, so it was very tough,” Hunt said.
In eight appearances for the Browns, Hunt rushed for 386 yards and five touchdowns while also catching 22 passes for 174 yards. His best year in Cleveland came in 2020 when he piled up 841 yards on the ground, added 304 receiving yards and accounted for 11 total touchdowns.
The Kareem Hunt, Nick Chubb Combination
It may not get as much attention as it should, but the health of both Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb has been critical for Cleveland’s rushing attack the past two seasons. There’s a big difference when both are capable of carrying the football.
Per NFL.com, the Browns are 13-6 when Hunt and Chubb are both playing over the past two seasons. When one (or both) is injured, Cleveland is just 6-8. Talk about a significant change in winning percentage.
Chubb recorded his third-consecutive 1,000-yard season in 2021. His 1,259 rushing yards in the regular season ranked second in the league, behind only Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts.
It goes without saying, but Cleveland having Hunt at full strength is key for the franchise entering 2022. If both he and Chubb can avoid injury, the Browns might have one of the top rushing attacks in the NFL.
What About Cleveland’s Quarterback Situation?
We’ve already concluded that Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb can be a dominant one-two punch out of the backfield for the Cleveland Browns in 2022. Now, the team just needs to know who’s handing the ball off to the running backs.
Deshaun Watson, who arrived via trade from the Houston Texans in the offseason, is still awaiting a decision from the NFL regarding a potential suspension. The league is investigating whether or not the quarterback violated its code of conduct policies after being accused of sexual misconduct and harassment by multiple women during massage sessions.
If the NFL does hand down a season-long suspension – which has been rumored – Baker Mayfield doesn’t have much interest in a return to the franchise. It would put a lot of stress on the organization to figure out something under center.
“I think it’s been pretty obvious that the mutual decision on both sides is to move on,” Mayfield said. “I think for [a reconciliation] to happen there would have to be some reaching out.”
The other quarterbacks currently listed on the Browns’ roster are Josh Dobbs and Jacoby Brissett.