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Week 10 Mailbag

Juice Is Loose

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We have the best trio of @AZ_ @Amherstcavsfan and @Randolphkeys answering questions this week.

1. Kareem Hunt debuts this week. With 8 games remaining, what are your projections for him in this offense?

@AZ_ - 10-12 touches per game. 50-60 ypg. Hell of a supplementary back and it makes much more sense to run him on 3rd and 3 if you’re intent on putting Chubb on the sideline. He’s no Nick Chubb, so no real need to force him touches

@Amherstcavsfan - Hopefully he totally and fully replaces Hillard. While I understand that Nick Chubb cannot play 100% of the snaps, it was killing the team that they had to rely on Hillard to get the tough yards. If Hunt simply comes in and becomes a quality 3rd down back, the Browns will already get a massive upgrade.

However, I would expect him to take a while to get back into form after not playing for nearly a full year. With Hunt's type of running style, it may take some time to acclimate himself back into NFL action at a high level. Thankfully, the Browns don't really need to rely on him for much more than as a substitute because of what they have in Nick Chubb.

@Randolphkeys - Y'all gon' make me lose my mind, Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb. In 2018, Chubb ranked No. 1 overall among running backs amassing 829 yards after contact on just 192 rushing attempts (4.318 yac/att). No.4 on the 2018 list is Kareem Hunt with 3.166 yac/att. Chubb is by far the better athlete, but he has taken his brakes in obvious passing downs. In comes Hunt, who if he were just a passing situation back would be a force.

Just compare what Duke Johnson did in his first 27 games in the NFL as a receiver to what Hunt did as a three down back for the Chiefs catching the football. Duke Johnson on bad teams that checked down constantly grabbed 103 passes for 918 yards and two scores in the number of games Hunt has played. He was arguably the highlight of the offense. Hunt has career marks in that number of games of 79 receptions for 833 yards and ten scores. He is simply a better playmaker in the passing game than Duke, plus he can block and break tackles. Y'all gon' make me go all out for this Hunt injection!

2. Do you believe Freddie can get the most out of what on paper, looks like the best RB duo in the NFL?

@AZ_ - Lol nah fam. Seems to be some desire to have both in the backfield at the same time, and I’m sure there are packages for that.
This team needs to commit to running the football and predicate their passing attack off that.

@Amherstcavsfan - Well, he hasn't been able to do it with his Wide Receivers thus far, so to say that I am confident in Freddie would be a lie. I do think it's easier for a playcaller/coach to involve multiple running backs into his offense, so that should be easier. The problem is that Freddie clearly doesn't understand what does and doesn't work in his offense at the moment.

Hearing him talk in his press conference and seeing his usages on his formations, he has no idea what is and is not successful for this team. Seeing as how the team was so successful in 12 formations last year, to not see as many of those formations is still perplexing. Sure, injuries do happen, but clearly its a formation that Baker and Chubb have the most success in regardless of who on the playing field. It would be nice to see Freddie show some semblance of understanding that they don't need to continue going 5 wide all the time, that this team can beat teams with some power football.

@Randolphkeys - Y'all gon' make me act a FOOL, because this is the same question in many ways. At the beginning of the year, when rainbows were shooting out of every Browns fan's orifice, people worried that this was too much of a good thing at running back. But now here we are, the tight end position has lost its top two weapons, and Demetrius Harris gets as much playing time he can handle even though he has been very inconsistent this year. Suddenly the Browns can get back to multiple running back sets that were so effective when Duke Johnson was still a part of the team. I'm optimistic that some creativity with the two running back personnel can ignite this offense.

3. Were you surprised by the JT Tretter extension?

@AZ_ - Not at all, he’s established himself as an above average regular at a premium OL position. His contract doesn’t seem prohibitive and they’re likely going to have to develop another young guard to his right in the near future.

Solid move.

@Amherstcavsfan - Yes and no. I'm not surprised that Tretter signed the offer and I'm not surprised by how much he got. He has been nothing short of fantastic since the beginning of 2018 and has played his ass off for the Browns. Not only that, but he has done so while barely being able to walk in 2018 with a nasty ankle sprain. He is the very definition of toughness for this team and a lot of guys would do well to follow Tretter's example.

I am, however, surprised that the Browns offered this extension for a number of reasons. One being that the Browns have done everything in their power to groom a replacement for Tretter. Drafting Corbett, mentioning that Drew Forbes has done well snapping the ball, and questioning Tretter's ability to play through pain have all happened on Dorsey's watch. It seemed to those on the outside that he was willing to let Tretter go. The sudden turn around will save the Browns a lot of heartache that they would have faced if they let Tretter leave without any real replacement.

@Randolphkeys - Y'all gon' make me lose my cool, because I didn't even know about it until you asked me. The deal looks fair considering they cleared out Zeitler's salary. I am going to assume they have identified Tretter and Bitonio as the leaders of the OL room, and they plan to move past some bad contracts at tackle in the near future. Just a year and a half ago, Corbett was drafted to be the heir apparent at center and Tretter had a "soft" reputation in the running game. Since then, Tretter has stepped up his game, played hurt, and established himself as a guy in the conversation for Pro Bowls. This isn't the NBA, so cut some bad contracts to keep key players who care enough to improve their craft.
 

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