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Browns Mailbag

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Browns Mailbag: How is Nick Chubb progressing in his recovery process?

Staff Writer Kelsey Russo answers your questions

Mailbag 1.26

As the Browns begin the offseason, there is time for reflection on the 2023 season, and preparation for what's to come in 2024.

So, as we begin this offseason, we opened up the mailbag and answered a few of your questions.

I am wondering if a loss in the playoffs will now settle the argument of allowing a player to sit or the coach to sit a player on the last game of the season? Does it not make sense now to play your team in the last season game in order to keep them warm and ready for the playoff game, Houston did that, and what was their outcome? – BG, Parma, MI

It doesn't quite settle the argument because hindsight is 20-20 on this situation. This is only the sentiment because they lost to the Texans. Think about the flipside – if they had won, there would be praise for resting players and having them prepared for the playoffs.

What if key players were injured in the last regular season game and unable to play in the playoffs? That would have changed the thought about resting players for the game against the Bengals — especially in the context of how many injuries the Browns dealt with throughout the entire season.

There is no right answer as we have seen year after year around the league. It's a decision that coaches and players have to stand by no matter the result. Yet, I don't think it's fair to draw a conclusion solely based on the results of the game because the argument easily goes either way.

Head coach Kevin Stefanski addressed this notion in his end-of-season press conference on Jan. 14.

"You just go with the information that's available to you in those decisions," Stefanski said. "I think it's always dependent on where you are in the future. Where are you from a health standpoint, those are the type of things you're always thinking about."

How's Nick Chubb doing from that horrific injury? – Naz Ellis, Coralville, IA

He's continuing to progress. Stefanski said during his end-of-season press conference that Chubb is doing well in his recovery and rehab process.

"I don't have an update other than to say he's doing great, he's progressing," Stefanski said. "He's doing everything he's supposed to do, if not more so. We'll see how it goes."

Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry added on Jan. 22 that while Chubb is still in the early stages of his rehab process, he has been impressed with how Chubb has attacked his rehab from the beginning. He shared a story that encapsulated that sentiment.

When the Browns were in LA for their Week 13 matchup against the Rams, Berry saw Chubb in the player suite walking without his crutches.

"And I was like, 'Nick, are you being stubborn?' And he's like, 'No, it actually feels pretty good.' I was like, 'Nick, if you're supposed to be on your crutches, be on your crutches,'" Berry recalled. "Well, we come back from the trip and then the next day, Dr. (James) Voos, they had put out this tape because they were going to just test where he was and they're like, 'Oh, no, officially, he doesn't need to be on his crutches anymore.' He had walked the whole thing. It was normal. And I share that, he's still very early in his rehab process, but the tenacity at which he has attacked his rehab. He did everything in his power this year to heal himself, but also make a positive impact with the team and it's culminated."

All in all, a very good season. In the future where do you see as areas of concern that (Andrew) Berry will address in the draft and free agents in the upcoming season? – Ronald Cornett, Englewood, OH

This is the time of year for that kind of reflecting – looking at what went well in the 2023 season and where they can improve as a team through the draft and free agency. There's an element to this kind of assessment that is difficult, though, considering all the injuries that the Browns dealt with throughout the season to so many starters and key players. Yet, because of what they went through this season in that regard, I think assessing the depth of the team can be an area of focus in the offseason.

The Browns showcased their depth as backups and young players stepped up throughout the regular season to fill in as starters and took on bigger roles. But as rosters can see a lot of turnover each season, reassessing depth plays a factor.

Berry was also asked about this topic and what his top priority when it comes to roster management in his end-of-season press conference.

"We'll spend the next few weeks working through all that and then ultimately we'll set a strategy to execute at the start of the league year," Berry said on Jan. 22.