We’re riding high on a Victory Tuesday and answering four of your questions before it’s officially time to move on to Week 13 and the Houston Texans.
It’s sure shaping up that way, but how about some love for Browns second-round running back Nick Chubb? He’s done the majority of his damage in the second half of the season and is on pace for more than 1,000 yards. He’s finding the end zone in a variety of ways, showing off a previously untapped ability as a pass-catcher. Had he been utilized in his current role from start to finish, we’d be talking about a legitimate three-man race.
(It also should be noted Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay deserves some inclusion in this conversation. He’s averaging 5.8 yards per carry and is an incredibly important part of a Denver offense that would be otherwise in rough shape without him.)
As for the battle between Barkley and Mayfield, the final five games are going to be vital. Barkley has the big numbers (829 rushing yards, 581 receiving yards, 12 TDs) that look a lot like what last year’s winner, Alvin Kamara, had, but his team has one of the league’s worst records. Mayfield’s numbers have been incredible since Freddie Kitchens took over as offensive coordinator. If he maintains this pace, he could very well break Peyton Manning’s rookie touchdown pass record. He’s helped lift up a franchise that reached the lowest of lows over the past two seasons while playing at the game’s most important position. I’m biased, but I give a strong lean toward Mayfield at this point of the season.
For what it’s worth, quarterbacks have won the award seven times since 2004. Running backs have five winners during that stretch.
Charles has bounced all over the place since he began his career in Cincinnati in 2012. If he stays healthy, this will be easily the most productive season of his career even though he’s rarely been asked to have the ball in his hands. His role has expanded in recent weeks since Kitchens took over as offensive coordinator. In Sunday’s win over the Bengals, he was on the field for 24 snaps and, as Mayfield described it, “played like a maniac.” The Browns lost their only true fullback when Danny Vitale suffered an injury during training camp, but Charles immediately seized the opportunity and hasn’t let go of a vital role on Cleveland’s offense.
Robinson has been one of this season’s most pleasant surprises. Inserted at left tackle after Desmond Harrison fell ill before the Chiefs game, Robinson has played well enough to make a case to be the starter for the rest of the season. As the former No. 2 pick in the draft, Robinson has not had the career he’d hoped at this point. Still, he’s played a lot of football, been a stabilizer at the position and is playing as well as he ever has. Robinson is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, but he could provide a solid base of competition for Harrison as the Browns weigh their options elsewhere in free agency and the draft.
“His focus has been good here, and sometimes –and it is always this way, I believe this with all of my heart – sometimes there is a light that clicks on in the head and it becomes more important to them than to all of us in the room,” Browns coach Gregg Williams said. “You have a better chance that way, and it has to be important to you because there are good players here competing every day you have to compete against. He has done well. He has handled the whole situation here well.”
Since new coaching started, the ball has been spread around more and Jarvis Landry has not made his usual numbers. He continues to pump up his teammates and doesn't seem fazed by this change. Have any comments been made by Landry about the changes? He is one of our favorite players and we would love to see him in the end zone more. -- Derek H., Waterford, Michigan
Landry is all about winning. That much was clear when he was asked about the change to Kitchens as offensive coordinator last week.
“We had the run game going (against the Falcons),” Landry said. “The game before that, we did not win.”
Landry caught three passes for 30 yards Sunday against the Bengals and two for 22 against the Falcons. His targets are down after the Browns tried to force-feed the ball his way during the first half of the season, when injuries decimated Cleveland’s options in the passing game. Mayfield connected with nine different receivers against the Falcons and eight against the Bengals. He’s spreading the ball around, and the Browns offense is all the better for it. It’s equated to winning, and that’s all Landry’s wanted since he began his time in Cleveland.