CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns entered their Week 13 bye with a primary objective: to fix an ailing offense in time to save their fading playoff odds.
"We need to produce on offense," Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said after his team returned to practice on Monday. "Very simply, we need to score points."
And in order to do just that, it appears that Cleveland's head coach could turn to some untraditional lineups.
Despite being two of the team's most talented players, running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt have sparingly played simultaneously since first becoming teammates in 2019. But when asked about the possibility of playing Chubb and Hunt together in the Browns' final five weeks of the 2021 regular season, Stefanski didn't rule it out.
"Those are all things we talk about," Stefanski said. "We want to make sure whatever we do is sound in thinking and sound schematically and those type of things. Those are two great players. We gotta make sure that they're involved so that we can be productive in the run game and in the pass game."
To Stefanski's point, the simultaneous presence of Chubb and Hunt could provide a spark to a Cleveland offense that has struggled to generate big plays -- and points -- throughout the first 12 weeks of the 2021 campaign. In particular, Hunt's ability as a pass-catcher could give the Browns' offense flexibility and help keep opposing defenses from loading the box against both him and Chubb.
Asked about the possibility of doing so, Hunt said he didn't see any downside to playing alongside Chubb.
"The pros and cons, there's really none," Hunt said. "It's only pros. I think it would be a good thing."
Laying claim to a 6-6 record but still in the thick of the AFC playoff picture, it won't take long for the Browns to try out their new adjustments. Returning to action on Sunday, Cleveland will face the same Baltimore Ravens team that limited it to 242 total yards (202 passing, 40 rushing) in a 16-10 win over the Browns in Week 12.
Will Cleveland attempt to feed the Ravens a double dose of the league's best backfield? We'll find out Sunday. But at this point, Hunt is at least preparing for the possibility that he'll have his number called at the same time as Chubb's.
"I would love it," he said. "That's up to them. Whatever the coaches decide, if they decide to put us both out there, I'm ready for that."