Nick Chubb begins the second half of the season second to Derrick Henry in rushing yards, first in rushing touchdowns and first in points among non-kickers. (Cleveland Browns)
Appreciating Nick Chubb as Browns restart their season
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Editor's note: Tony Grossi is a Cleveland Browns analyst for TheLandOnDemand.com and 850 ESPN Cleveland. He has covered the Browns since 1984.
Takeaways from Browns practice and interviews …
Time for another Nick Chubb Appreciation Moment. That’s never a bad thing.
This one was spurred by a recent exchange between NBC Sunday Night Football commentator Mike Tirico and Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry, who holds a 29-yard edge over Chubb in his quest for a third NFL rushing title.
Tirico: “How’s the best running back on the planet doing?”
Henry: “That’s Nick Chubb.”
Chubb affirmed that he heard about the surprising shout-out from Henry.
“I feel the same about him and Saquon [Barkley]. They’re all great running backs. Yeah, I heard it,” Chubb said, without expounding.
And so, as the Browns’ season restarts with Chubb leading the NFL in rushing touchdowns (10) and points (62) among non-kickers, Chubb became a topic of conversation.
“There are so many things I can tell you about him,” said quarterback Jacoby Brissett. “The thing that I come back to is [his success] is no surprise with the way he works. Not only the videos that people see him lifting all these weights, but every day at practice he is going to the touchdown.
"No matter how far we are back, he is running to the touchdown and running back for the next play – to where his success is no surprise, his style of running is no surprise and the things that he can do is no surprise.
“Obviously, you can’t take it for granted because sometimes it is unhuman-like, but then when you get around him, you are like, ‘Dang, man. This is what NFL players should be. This is what a professional athlete should be.’ He does it in day in and day out, no matter the circumstances. He is just that guy who you want in your locker room.”
Coach Kevin Stefanski added, “Nick is a great example of you don’t have to be loud, you don’t have to be vocal, you don’t have to be boisterous and you don’t have to be giving pre-game speeches in order to lead. He is a great leader by example. He will speak up when necessary, and he has done that. It is always good when there is an example of how to do it the right way.
“When you have a guy that is a pro’s pro who does his job, I think everybody sees that. The fact that he doesn’t say much doesn’t change his standing to me, to his teammates or whatever. I just think they see a guy who knows when it is time to get to work.”
That “pro’s pro” label extends off the field, of course.
Chubb was asked what would it mean to him to win the rushing title after finishing second twice to Henry, or even to win the touchdown title.
“I think it would be a great team stat if we were ever to do that,” he answered. “But for me, I don’t think too much about it. I go to work every day and where I end up is where I end up.”
New kid in town
Oftentimes, there’s no rhyme or reason to the Browns making an addition to their practice squad.
Latest example was the signing on Tuesday of receiver Cyril Grayson, who had been working out at his home in Houston after taking an injury settlement with Tampa Bay on Aug. 25.
Grayson, 28, is an interesting story. He was an All-American 400-meter sprinter on scholarship at LSU, and never played football. Yet the Browns are his eighth NFL team.
“I think I’ve definitely proved that I’m a football player,” Grayson said. “Obviously, still have that track stigma. People call you a track guy all the time, which I’m fine with now. Call me a track guy and I go out and play good football. One of the coaches with the Buccaneers told me ‘Man, I’m starting to see less and less of that track guy. You’re starting to look like a real football player.’”
Grayson saw action in 10 games with Tampa Bay in the 2019-21 seasons. His career highlights came last year when he caught a 50-yard touchdown from Tom Brady against division-nemesis New Orleans, and added another from 33 yards against the Jets.
“I have both balls,” Grayson said. “The first one he signed for me, which was pretty cool. I signed it, too. Unfortunately, we thought it was going to be a game-winner and we ended up losing the game so I think that one got lost behind my second one, which was the game-winner against the Jets. Very excited and grateful for my opportunity to play with Tom. Learned so much from him. I think that helped me grow into the ball player I am today.”
The Browns will play host to Brady and the Bucs on Nov. 27 – which could be Brady’s last appearance as a player in Cleveland. Naturally, Grayson is excited about seeing him and his most recent teammates.
Cornerback Denzel Ward (concussion protocol) and guard Wyatt Teller (calf) practiced, but were limited.
Tight end David Njoku (high ankle), linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (knee), and cornerback M.J. Emerson (illness) did not practice.
Given the day off were receiver Amari Cooper, defensive end Myles Garrett, guard Joel Bitonio and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
Naturally, Chubb was elated the Browns did not trade Kareem Hunt prior to Tuesday’s trade deadline. “Of course, I was very happy,” Chubb said. “Kareem is one of my best friends, a great teammate here and a great player for this team. Having him back is everything to me and it is everything to everyone here.” …
The Browns are 2-0 under Stefanski coming off their bye week. They beat Houston, 10-7, in that “weather” game in 2020 when Deshaun Watson couldn’t muster anything for the Texans, and they beat Baltimore, 24-22, in 2021 when JOK knocked Lamar Jackson out of the game in the second quarter. “I don’t know what everyone’s record is coming off the bye, but you would think it would be an advantage to most teams,” Stefanski said …
The Browns are not concerned that Hurricane Nicole will affect the team’s arrival in south Florida on Saturday or the game Sunday in Hard Rock Stadium. In fact, forecast for Sunday is 82 degrees and sunny. “It will be warmer in the sun on our sideline so we will have plans for that,” Stefanski said. “I always tell the guys we don’t control the weather, we deal with it so whatever it is, it is, but I do want them to know ahead of time just to have the hydration and do the things that can help them leading into Sunday.” …