It didn't take long for Nick Chubb to make a fast impression on Freddie Kitchens, and it had nothing to do with his raw, athletic traits.
Kitchens, then the Browns running backs coach, saw a player with a tireless work ethic who "is always going to have that pursuit of being great." It matched what he'd heard from a few of his friends on the Georgia coaching staff, and Kitchens hasn't seen anything different since rising to head coach.
Two days removed from Chubb's 165-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Ravens, Kitchens found himself reflecting on his first interactions with the talented running back.
"Nick came in during rookie minicamp, and he was ready to go. He has been that way," Kitchens said. "He has been that way ever since he left high school. Nick Chubb is not changing. He is always going to have that pursuit of being great. You saw it. You saw it initially. You saw it how he worked. You saw it how he finished runs during a practice, and we are only talking about a rookie minicamp. He has always been that way."
Nick Chubb exploded for 165 yards and three touchdowns in Sunday's 40-25 win over the Baltimore Ravens. Flip through photos of the Browns' star running back.
Chubb doesn't seek out the spotlight, but it's been hard to avoid this week. He's up for FedEx Ground Player of the Week after a game that featured a memorable, 88-yard touchdown run. After just 20 games, Chubb sits fourth in the NFL in rushing yards and owns the first- and third-longest runs in Browns history.
"Nick, first and foremost, is an excellent individual," Kitchens said. "He works his tail off every day he walks on the football field, walks into the weight room or walks into the classroom. You know exactly what you are getting from Nick every time he walks out there. Every time the clock starts turning, you know what you are going to get from him. After all of that, you throw in his ability, his skillset, his desire inside within to be successful and his resilient nature and chasing being good.
"I do not know what else you want in a football player."
-- Kitchens didn't have any updates on the Browns' injured players, but he's encouraged by one aspect of the outlook regarding wide receiver Jarvis Landry.
Landry, who posted a career-best 167 yards against the Ravens, is in the league's concussion protocol after exiting Sunday's game late in the third quarter. Because they're on Monday Night Football, the Browns have an extra day to work with when it comes to Landry potentially returning in time to face the 49ers.
"It is encouraging that we in reality start practice a day later in the week," Kitchens said. "Hopefully, he will get back at some point and get some good reps in and get ready to play."
-- Antonio Callaway, who is poised to return from a four-game suspension, could be in line to fill in for Landry if he's not cleared in time for Monday's game.
"They play sort of the same spots on normal down and distance type stuff. We will have to see how that all fits in," Kitchens said. "He has to prove that he knows what to do, knows how to do it and knows when to do it. Other than that, Antonio has played. He knows how to play the game. I am glad he is back."
-- Kitchens explained why he's been extra careful with challenging pass interference calls. It's been clear through the first four weeks of the season that it takes a lot to overturn the original call.
"It has to be very, very clear before I throw a flag for PI," Kitchens said. "It does not really matter to me what they say to me afterwards or what they say during, or anything like that. Those are valuable, precious commodities we have to impact the game in a positive way. To take a chance on something that you know the percentages are not very high, I do not think that is the brightest thing to do, but I do think you have to pull the trigger per se whenever you have the opportunity."
Kitchens has not challenged a pass interference call during the regular season. He did once during the preseason, and it wasn't successful.
"We picked out a good one, I thought, and it was not overturned," Kitchens said. "I looked at the percentages throughout the preseason and throughout the first few weeks of the regular season, and it needs to be pretty definite."