Browns Mailbag

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Browns Mailbag: What's the ceiling for the Nick Chubb-Kareem Hunt tandem?

Senior Writer Andrew Gribble answers your questions every week

It's a bright and sunny first Friday of October, and we're riding high into Sunday's game against the Cowboys.

Let's make it a four-question Friday, shall we?

Any news on David Njoku? Has he fallen out of favor again or is he simply working through the injury and could be off IR soon? — PJ R., Bowling Green

Definitely the latter, though there's no concrete timeframe for Njoku's return to the active roster. Based on the NFL's new rules for injured reserve, Njoku could be cleared to play as soon as next week against the Colts. That's because players now must miss just a minimum of three games when they're placed on injured reserve.

When Kevin Stefanski last talked about Njoku, he said the hope was to get Njoku back on the field "hopefully fairly soon." Njoku was one of the few bright spots in Cleveland's season-opening loss, as he caught three passes for 50 yards and the Browns' lone touchdown.

It is clear that we have the best running back tandem in the NFL in many years and could possibly see Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt hit 1,000 yards each. Is 1,200 or more yards each unrealistic? Has any pair of RBs both hit 1,200 yards each? Higher? 1,500 each? — Bob K., Akron

There have been seven instances in which two players from the same team cleared 1,000 rushing yards in the same season. One of those tandems, of course, was Cleveland's Kevin Mack (1,104) and Earnest Byner (1,002) in 1985, and the most recent happened right in the Browns' division last season with Lamar Jackson (1,206) and Mark Ingram (1,018). Jackson is the only player in any of these tandems to clear 1,200 yards. Only once have both members of the tandem cleared 1,100 yards — Jonathan Stewart (1,133) and DeAngelo Williams (1,117) in 2009 with the Panthers.

As it stands today, Chubb (292) and Hunt (204) are the only teammates to have 200 or more rushing yards. At that pace, they'd make some history, but there's a long way to go. One thing is clear: Neither player is interested in chasing stats.

Is Ronnie Harrison the starter once he gets a full understanding of the playbook? — Alexander B., Cleveland

That's yet to be determined as Harrison continues to get up to speed with the new defense he's now a part of. Through the first three games, Karl Joseph and Andrew Sendejo have played nearly every snap at the two safety positions.

Harrison has played a handful of snaps in the Browns' first three games, including seven this past week against Washington. Though he missed practice Thursday with an illness, Harrison was a full participant Friday and is expected to contribute Sunday in Dallas.

"It has been great to get Ronnie here," said Browns pass game coordinator/defensive backs coach Jeff Howard. "What I think about Ronnie is you could tell he really loves football. He has been a winner. He knows how to win with his time in Alabama. What is striking to me is how much effort and time he puts into his craft, and it is meaningful to him. We are going to continue to work with him and kind of work with that piece week to week to week. But I am encouraged with his development and glad he is here." 

With Greedy Williams out, Kevin Johnson just returning and Denzel Ward questionable, is there any chance to bring A.J. Green up off the practice squad? — Brent B., Little Rock, Arkansas

There's certainly an option considering Williams was ruled out for the fourth straight week, and the Browns did just that for the game against Washington. In his NFL debut, Green got on the field for one defensive snap and seven special teams snaps after being elevated from the practice squad one day earlier. He's back on the practice squad this week and is eligible for one more gameday promotion this season. Otherwise, he'd need to be a full-fledged member of the 53-man roster to participate in any more games. Because of the number of injuries in the secondary, the Browns have utilized gameday promotions from the practice squad in all three of their games this season. Robert Jackson was the player for the first two.

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