BEREA, Ohio — Nick Chubb has seen Baker Mayfield regain the confidence and swagger this summer that turned Cleveland orange and brown in 2018.
“I believe it 100 percent,’’ Chubb said on a video call Thursday. “I see it every day in practice. He’s making the changes that need to be made. He’s playing smarter. He’s still making the big plays as Baker does, but I think he’s just being smarter with the ball. That’s all it came down to is protecting the ball.”
Chubb also addressed the concussion he suffered on the first day in pads three weeks ago when Mack Wilson horsecollared him in a non-tackling team period after a pass in the left flat, and his head hit the ground.
“It was a scary moment, but I knew I was fine,’’ he said. “Just a little dizzy, but that is it.”
Wilson, who felt horrible about the play and got an earful from several coaches and players, apologized to Chubb.
“Yeah, he reached out to me through text,’’ Chubb said. “He didn’t even have to. I understand. It’s football. He’s just playing hard and going hard as he always does.’’
In a bizarre turn of events, Wilson joined him in the training room the next day when he suffered a hypextended knee. At first, Wilson feared it could be season-ending, but it was determined he doesn’t need surgery and could be back in 4-6 weeks.
“I did feel horrible the next day seeing his knee injury, but it was me and him inside the training room and I’m the perfect guy he can talk to about knee injuries,’’ said Chubb, who underwent major reconstructive knee surgery at Georgia. “It turns out his is not even as near as bad as mine so that’s a positive that came out of it. Now, he’s just trying to get back out there with us.”
Chubb, who’s rookie contract expires after the 2021 season, isn’t getting too hung up on all the running backs hitting the jackpot these days.
“I see it, I know it’s happening. I am aware of it, but I am just focusing on this team right now,’’ he said. “I’m a big believer in everything happens for a reason. Whatever happens for me, it will be for the best I believe so I am just trying to get better every day here and not worry about the future.”
The Browns love Chubb, their second-round pick in 2018, so it wouldn’t be surprising for them to reward him with a big deal with the time comes.
“He’s a man of few words, even less than me,’’ coach Kevin Stefanski said. “I love how Nick Chubb works. You see him on the grass and you see him in the classroom, he’s all ball all the time. He’s a good person. He’s a solid citizen. He’s a great teammate. Pleased with what Nick means to this team.”
Denzel Ward praised his 2018 draft classmate.
“You guys see what Nick Chubb can do,’’ Ward said. “He’s a big back. He can run. He’s shifty. He’s a one-cut guy. He’s definitely a playmaker out there. Some people will probably be hesitant seeing him come around on the edge as fast as he comes. He’s a great player.”
Chubb has also set the tone for younger players such as rookie receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones.
“Very humble guy. Very hard worker on the field. You can just tell how much he loves football by the way he practices,’’ Peoples-Jones said. “It’s been very inspiring to me just to see how he practices and how he finishes. Great to be around.”
Chubb is excited about the prospect of having a fullback this year in Andy Janovich.
“I love having Andy in front of me,’’ he said. “He has eyes like a running back. I can trust where he’s going. I know he’s going to be in the right place. Not only just his blocking, but he can catch the ball well, he can run with the ball in his hands and he’s a great overall fullback. I look forward to running behind him.”
He’s also is eager to share the backfield with his good buddy Kareem Hunt.
“I know our coaches are going to do a great job and find ways to get us on the field together,’’ he said. “It is a coach’s decision, but I hope we can do that.”
Stefanski will undoubtedly use his two bruising backs together a fair amount.
“We want to make sure we are multiple and versatile,’’ he said. “Could I see a scenario like that? Sure. Could I see a scenario with four tight ends and a receiver? You have to go into every game with the mindset of whatever personnel you think may cause some conflict to the defense, you do that.’‘
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