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No limits for Nick Chubb, role expected to expand in 2023

As Browns training camp opens, Nick Chubb is expected to lead the way again

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The start of Cleveland Browns training camp has some fans excited, some fans in wait-and-see mode and some fans pessimistic until the team makes the playoffs. All reactions are appropriate given what the team has shown in the past and given what the roster looks like.

For years, RB Nick Chubb has been the only thing that was certain for the team. Injuries, roster turnover, suspensions and poor play have haunted pretty much every other place on the roster since Chubb entered the league in 2018.

Moving into 2023, the Browns are expected to have a new offense with a new role for Chubb. A more spread-out offense with more passes to the running backs is the polar opposite of what Kevin Stefanski’s offenses have been in Cleveland.

The head coach and play caller noted that Chubb’s versatility helps with that:

Chubb’s versatility will allow the Browns to run creative formations and plays, like the option, that is normally reserved for college football. We saw some of those in OTAs already this offseason.

Not only did Stefanski laud Chubb’s versatility but mentioned his ability to catch passes out of the backfield:

While Chubb has been a great running back, he’s often overlooked as a complete back (especially by fantasy football owners) due to his lack of usage in the passing game. His biggest production as a pass catcher came in 2019 when he had 36 receptions and 278 yards.

In 2022, 32 running backs had more receptions than Cleveland’s lead back. That should change in 2023 with 50 or more receptions not an unrealistic expectation.

More receivers on the field will impact Chubb’s production in a variety of ways. With fewer players in the box, rushing lanes should be clearer. Defenses will be forced to have more cornerbacks and safeties on the field leading to fewer linemen and linebackers.

There are certainly no limits to what running schemes that Chubb can be successful in but we will find out in 2023 if Chubb can be the complete back in the passing game. If he excels there, Browns fans (and his fantasy football owners) will be more than thrilled.

What are your expectations for Chubb as a pass catcher this year?