The Browns welcomed back two key pieces on both sides of the ball for their first practice of Week 9.
Cornerback Denzel Ward (hamstring) and wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones (groin) were both back on the practice field for the first time in two weeks. Peoples-Jones has been sidelined since suffering his injury in pregame warmups before Week 7 against the Broncos, while Ward has injured later in the same game.
Ward has played in seven games this season, recording three passes defensed and 24 tackles as well as a half sack. Peoples-Jones has recorded 13 receptions for 228 yards and two touchdowns and was in the midst of his best two-game period of his career — he posted 171 yards and scored both his touchdowns in Weeks 5 and 6.
Check out exclusive photos from the practice fields at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus of the Browns preparing for their Week 9 game against the Cincinnati Bengals
Chubb remains confident in run game
Nick Chubb doesn't believe the lower-than-usual run production from Sunday's game against the Steelers is any cause for concern — both for himself and the run game in general.
Chubb, who missed two games with a calf injury before returning in Week 8, rushed for 61 of the Browns' 96 total rushing yards. Cleveland didn't top 100 rushing yards for just the second game this year, but a one-game dip in performance from the run game, which has led the league in several rushing categories for most of the season, isn't detracting any confidence from Chubb.
"I felt good," he said. "It's not the first time I've only had 60 yards."
Chubb doesn't believe the Browns should change anything about their core offensive philosophies as they attempt to steer the group in a better direction than what transpired in the 15-10 loss. The 10 points were the lowest the Browns have scored since Week 10 of last season, but Chubb believes he'll continue to boost the group in the right direction if the Browns continue to stick with their run-first mindset.
"I think we've got to stick with what we do best," he said. "Over the years, it's been our running game. It's our bread and butter. No matter what we do, we should be able to move the ball. We weren't able to on Sunday, so I think we've got to do a lot of things better — as a team, a running team and everybody as a whole."
Browns ready for tall challenge against Cincy
Kevin Stefanski isn't taking anything lightly when it comes to preparations against the Bengals — nor should he.
The Bengals are 5-3 and just one loss behind the Baltimore Ravens for the top of the AFC North. Their success has been built behind QB Joe Burrow, who's sixth in the NFL in passing yards, WR Ja'Marr Chase, who's third in the league in receiving yards and RB Joe Mixon, who's fifth in rushing yards.
Even though the Bengals took a surprising loss last week against the Jets, Stefanski and the Browns know their talent is no joke and requires just as much preparation as any of the other top teams around the NFL.
"Offensively, our mindset is always to score a bunch of points any which way we can," he said. "Defensively, it is a tall task to slow this offense down. They have a bunch of really good players. Again, they have been in this scheme. The quarterback is playing at a high level. We understand the challenge here. When you add Chase to this group, he's a dynamic player. We have to make sure that we're locked in from a preparation standpoint."