Good news for the Browns: They’re finally getting running back Kareem Hunt.
Bad news for the Browns: There continues to be only one football in use at any given time.
With Browns coach Freddie Kitchens recently saying that Hunt “will definitely have a role” with the team, this necessarily means that he will eat into someone else’s role.
It remains to be seen who loses touches as Hunt gains them. Will it be starting running back Nick Chubb? Or will it be the passing game, which eventually could mean fewer opportunities for receiver Odell Beckham Jr.?
Beckham is averaging fewer than five catches per game, and fewer than 72 receiving yards per game. He has one touchdown in eight games.
Already, the urgency to get the ball to OBJ seems to be adding undue stress to quarterback Baker Mayfield. Why else would he have the lowest passer rating in the league when not facing pressure? Is he spending too much time looking for Beckham before moving to the next receiver, since Beckham won’t hesistate to point out that he’s not getting the ball as much as he’d like to get the ball?
It’s an odd dynamic, one that invites speculation that Cleveland simply isn’t big enough for both oversized personalities. The arrival of Hunt will serve only to potentially exacerbate the tension regarding offensive opportunities, unless and until the NFL adopts a multiball approach.
Wherever it goes from here, adding another highly-skilled skill-position player won’t provide the easy fix that some assume it will. The Browns have plenty of guys who can do good things with the ball in their hands. The challenge continues to be getting the ball in their hands.