The Browns had the weekend off after a big win against the AFC Champs, the Bengals. It was a very good win, one where RB Nick Chubb played a very big part in. He seems to play a big part in all Browns games till the coach forgets he's on the team and we start chucking the ball all over the yard like we are running off the Thanksgiving turkey with uncle Mike in the backyard. But last week, they stuck with their best player and many good things happened. Did they learn the lesson we all have known as fans since Stefanski got here? We will find out Sunday in Miami.
But let's look out a much larger window. The NFL is a passing league, at least that's what they all say. No one cares about running the ball anymore or running backs for that matter. And yes, the NFL passes a lot for many reasons. It's more exciting, it's faster, we're more impatient as people and as fans, it's better on TV, and better for highlight shows on ESPN. The league also wants it that way, as they continue to make rule changes making it easier to pass and favor the QB and the offense.
QB's become legends, and zillionairs, and running the ball is so - 1975. This goes back to the AFL before the merger. The AFL (Now known as the AFC) was actually invented as a wide open passing league that was essentially a made for television league, and was to compete - and pass the boring run, run, pass NFL which was slow and not at all TV friendly. The AFL had a newer idea and it worked. They eventually merged into one league of course, and over the decades the NFL has "become" the AFL, we just call it the NFL.
But no matter who you are in this league there comes a time when you have to run the ball to be successful. When you can, you control the clock, you keep great QB's on the bench, you wear teams down, you shorten the game, and frustrate your opposition. If you want to win a title, there will come a big game, or a time in a big game you need to run the ball well to win. The real irony is, if you can run the ball well in any game, you'll be able to pass it at will as it opens everything up - that's football 101.
Analytics has taken over the NFL. Stefanski is among many young coaches that I feel is almost "embarrassed" to run the ball, and he's not near alone. Analytics "hates" the run, and running on first down too. Numbers are great tools, but not the rules. The teams that use them to dictate in game decisions are crazy I feel. If the Browns would have stuck to simple good common sense football knowledge and instinct, this season would be very different right now. Stefanski used the running game a ton last week and it worked and they won. If he's anywhere near smart, that's the formula going forward with this team. If not, it will be his demise, after the demise of this season. Keeping the next three opposing QB's on the bench watching Chubb run would be a great plan.
So, who needs Nick Chubb? Every team needs Nick Chubb, he is the best running back in the NFL and we have him. There is not one single team in either conference that wouldn't love to have him. He would make any team instantly better, and good teams contenders, and we need to remember he is on our team, and is the absolute key to this season and any season he wears a Browns uniform. Make no mistake, you are watching Jim Brown here. Times are different, era's are different, and he's different from Brown. But some things are the same, and Chubb is as valuable to this team as Brown was to his.
The mold has been cast. But if the Browns, the computer and Stefanski choose to put the game in the hands of a backup QB, third string tight-ends, and the geeks in the Berea office crunching numbers, last Monday will be just a fun memory. It isn't often you have the best player at his position in the entire league on your team. Quit being jealous of Mahomes, Rogers, and Herbert, we have Nick Chubb, and all three guys I just mentioned would love to have him.