Chubb 12 rush TDs with Brissett, zero with Watson -- this must change | Jeff Schudel
Feb. 4—If the Browns want to win more than seven games in 2023, and of course they do, head coach Kevin Stefenaski and offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt will have to find ways to make Nick Chubb a bigger part of the offense inside the red zone.
More specifically, they have to find a way to get Chubb more involved in the red zone when Deshaun Watson is the quarterback.
Watson averaged 18.2 carries a game in the 11 games Jacoby Brissett started. He averaged 17 carries a game in the six games Watson started. A difference of 1.2 carries a game is no big deal.
The Browns averaged 67.5 offensive plays a game with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback and 62.2 a game with Watson running the show. Using those numbers, Chubb was more a part of the offense with Watson than with Brissett. His carries accounted for 26.9 percent of the offensive plays with Brissett at quarterback and 27.3 percent of the offensive plays with Watson at quarterback.
The glaring difference is this: Chubb rushed for 12 touchdowns when Brissett was the quarterback and zero with Watson. He scored his only receiving touchdown in the final game of the season when Watson was the quarterback.
The Browns averaged 23.9 points a game under Brissett and 16.3 a game under Watson, and even that one-touchdown gap doesn't show the true difference because the 98 points scored when Watson was the quarterback credits him with two defensive touchdowns and a punt return for a touchdown in the Houston game when Watson made his first start after a 700-day layoff.
Before all the Deshaun Watson defenders jump on me, I am not advocating for re-signing Brissett and benching Watson. But just assuming everything will be fine next season when Watson is no longer rusty doesn't mean everything will be hunky-dory.
"We had more time with Jacoby for sure, the chemistry and all of that, but Deshaun is a great quarterback," Chubb said a day after the season ended. It's all about us getting on the same page and going from there.
"We can be good at both (running and passing). That's what gives me hope. We all know we can run the ball well. Now with Deshaun, we do a lot of great different things passing the ball. Just putting it all together and making it match."
Stefanski should use the Philadelphia Eagles as his template. The NFL is, after all, a copycat league, and Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts has a style that resembles that of Watson much more than it resembles the way Brissett plays.
The Eagles scored 32 rushing touchdowns in 2022. Hurts was second on the team in rushing with 760 yards and 13 touchdowns on 165 carries. Miles Sanders led the Eagles with 1,269 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.
Only the Kansas City Chiefs with 496 scored more than the 477 points posted by the Eagles. The Browns were 18th with 361 points.