CLEVELAND — Running back Nick Chubb had an historic first season with the Cleveland Browns, but he aims to make the 2018 campaign the launching point to bigger and better things.
Chubb returned to the team for the offseason program ready to work on his craft and prepare himself to have an even stronger second season with the Browns.
“Doing what I’ve always done, continue to work hard, trusting my teammates, and personally, further my game in the passing game, catching balls and running routes,” Chubb said after Wednesday’s OTA practice at team headquarters in Berea. “Continue to build from all the knowledge I have.
“Everyone on the field is very good and there’s no plays off. There’s no days off. There’s no games off. Everyone you play -- in college, we had games where it wasn’t as tough or things like that, but now, it’s an every-game thing, week-in, week-out.”
Of all rookie running backs who have played for the Browns since their founding in 1946, no one rushed for more yards than Chubb, as he set the franchise single-season record in a 26-18 win over the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 23.
Chubb rushed for a game-high 112 yards on 19 carries, which gave him 972 yards on the season.
Chubb broke the old mark for rushing yards by a rookie that was set by Trent Richardson during the 2012 season. Richardson rushed for those 950 yards on 267 carries, while Chubb eclipsed his yardage total on 84 less attempts.
Chubb finished the 2018 season, one in which he was seldom used in the first seven games, with 996 yards and eight touchdowns on 192 carries. Chubb had 11 20-yard runs, four 40-yard bursts and 47 first-down conversions.
Chubb attributed some of that success to first-year Browns coach Freddie Kitchens, who started the 2018 season as the team’s running backs coach and was elevated to interim offensive coordinator with eight games remaining on the schedule.
“We love Freddie,” Chubb said of the running backs. “We know that he’ll do anything for us and he’s a great coach and as a running back, we love it too because he was a running backs coach and he was the OC, and now, he’s the head coach. We know he loves to run the ball, so that’s good for us.
“He wants me to continue to be myself and never change who I am.”
During the offseason, the Browns added depth and talent to the backfield with the February signing of former Pro Bowl rusher Kareem Hunt.
Although the presence of Hunt, who has to serve an eight-game suspension for an off-the-field incident in a February figures to cut into Chubb’s workload, the AP Rookie of the Year Award finalist is embracing the increased competition.
“It’s going to be fun,” Chubb said. “It’s going to be fun to play in, fun to watch because not only me and Kareem but other guys. If Duke makes it back, he can run the ball very well as well as catching and Dontrell Hilliard. We’re all ready to run the ball here.
“I’m ready for whatever. It makes things a lot easier, scheme-wise, for a defense to figure out how to play us because me, Kareem, Duke, other guys, there will be a lot on their plate to stop us.”