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Off-Season Position Analysis

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Browns 2020 position preview: Analyzing the running backs

The virtual work is complete and training camp will be here sooner than we know it.

From now until then, we're going to devote some time to the different position groups that dot the Browns' roster. There's been plenty of change since the Browns last took the field, and we're examining all of it with an eye toward the 2020 season.

We're continuing with a position that carries all sorts of excitement and possibilities into the 2019 season.

The Running Backs

The Fullbacks

Check out photos of the running backs the Browns will be bringing into training camp

What we know: The Browns have two of the NFL's best in the same room and a head coach who loves to run the ball. That's a great place to start, and the Browns are looking to reap the benefits of a full season with Chubb and Hunt together after experiencing half of one in 2019. Chubb was just a few yards short of leading the NFL last season and was among the league's most consistent at the position. He cleared 100 yards on seven occasions and notched at least 58 yards in the team's first 14 games. Hunt was utilized primarily as a pass-catcher during the final eight games of the year, hauling in 37 passes for 285 yards and essentially serving as the Browns' third receiver while attempting just 43 runs. Kevin Stefanski and offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt have discussed, at length, the team's plans to implement a wide-zone scheme that should provide even more opportunities for the Browns' ball-carriers. There's also a beefed up offensive line with two new tackles and a newly acquired fullback ready to block for Cleveland's dynamic duo.

What we don't know: What will it all look like? When Hunt and Chubb were together for the final eight games of 2019, Chubb received 77 percent of the carries. Hunt, meanwhile, had 72 percent of the passes targeted to running backs. Hunt is just a couple of seasons removed from averaging 17 carries per game, so he's not your typical pass-catching back. Perhaps the split in carries will be a little bit more balanced now that the team has an entire offseason to prepare for a full 16 games' worth of the duo? And will the Browns utilize both on the field at the same time like they did on a handful of occasions last year? Or will they simply rotate the backs to keep them fresh? It's hard to look at what Stefanski did in Minnesota because this kind of setup simply didn't exist — Dalvin Cook was the dominant ball-carrier for the Vikings. The following questions all count as good problems to have because few teams possess the kind of backfield options like the Browns do.

The X-Factor: Janovich - The Browns went from not having a fullback on their 53-man roster for a couple of years to landing one of the league's better players at the position. Janovich has been a fullback dating back to his college days at Nebraska and has thrived at the position since entering the league in 2016. Cleveland was more than happy to take Janovich off Denver's hands when the Broncos began installing an offense that wouldn't maximize his talents. He'll provide another bruising blocker and pass-catching option for an offense that will have no problem taking a ground and pound approach to work its way down the field.

The biggest number: 3 - That's the number of teams that attempted more runs than passes in 2019. One of them was the Vikings, which had 476 rush attempts and 466 pass attempts. The other two, San Francisco and Baltimore, similarly advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs.

Says it all: "We definitely feel like we can thrive, because we saw how Dalvin Cook was doing last year in Stefanski's offense and he did not disappoint. They had another running back who did not disappoint, either. We definitely think we can take advantage of his zone run scheme." — Hunt

How many were kept on the initial 53-man roster last year?: 4

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