Skip to main content

Jerome Ford is taking it "day by day" as the feature back, ready for Week 6 49ers matchup

GM Andrew Berry and HC Kevin Stefanski say Ford is a big part of the Browns success moving forward

Jerome F

After returning from their bye week, the Browns held a non-padded practice in Berea on Monday. At the start of practice, head coach Kevin Stefanski displayed the score of their Week 4 matchup against the Ravens, which ended in a 28-3 loss.

There were plenty of reasons why the Browns lost the game, but the most alarming was the struggles in the run game it was the Browns calling card in the first two weeks. The ground game has rushed for under 100 yards in back-to-back weeks. All eyes point to RB Jerome Ford, the starting running back now that star RB Nick Chubb is out for the season.

When Chubb suffered an ACL injury against the Steelers, Ford stepped up and delivered a standout performance, which remains his best to date. Ford rushed 106 yards on 16 attempts, with a big 69-yard run to put the Browns in the red zone. However, in the last two games, he combined for 44 yards.

What stands out the most about Ford's performance has been the attempts. In three quarters, he got 16 attempts against the Steelers. In Week 3 against the Titans, he had 10, and in Week 4 against the Ravens, he had nine.

"I am just kind of taking it day by day and making sure my routine is on point every day and one game at a time," Ford said.

Although his rushing numbers have been down, the second-year pro has found some success as a catching option for whoever is at quarterback. Against the Titans, he caught two passes for 33 yards and scored a touchdown. Against the Ravens, he caught five passes out of the backfield.

"He's had some really good moments thus far in the season," Stefanski said. "Obviously, we want to get back to being more efficient and explosive in our run game, so he's a big part of that. He has breakaway speed; I think is one of the things that we've seen from him. He's a guy that has the ability to run in between the tackles, but he does have a legit breakaway speed, so he's a guy that continues to work hard."

Check out the best photos from the Browns game against the Ravens by the Browns photo team

GM Andrew Berry also sees Ford's ability to do multiple things out of the backfield as a massive asset for the team.

"We think what Jerome provides us – he provides us big play ability," Berry said during the bye week. "We've seen that over the first month of the season. His speed and strength are a real asset. And then also, he's a real contributor in the passing game. We saw that against Tennessee. We've seen that in the screen and check-down game. But we think Jerome's ability actually to split out and run routes, that's something that's pretty hard to find."

Without Chubb, the offense has had its up and downs in the run game. Ford has been utilized in certain situations as a scatback, using his speed and agility in the open field. 

After witnessing Ford's best and worst performances this season, the Browns still have a high level of confidence in Ford and say he is their feature back. However, it will need to be shown on the field more, as they look forward to playing the 49ers in Week 6. 

Although it is unrealistic to expect one player to replace Chubb's contribution fully, the Browns can benefit from utilizing Ford's explosive and versatile playing style to maintain offensive consistency. 

"We really do look at that position as more of a platoon position, as opposed to hey, this is your one, this is your two, that type of thing," Berry said. "It's probably a little bit more role based. In fairness, again, we've been spoiled by having Nick, but that's probably more where this position is trending with us and has certainly trended around the league."