Nick Chubb is a bit different than most of the veterans he sees when he looks at his teammates in the offensive huddle.
Wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry always pack an emotional punch on gameday. Quarterback Baker Mayfield has been one of the most vocal players on the field thus far in camp, and offensive tackle Joel Bitonio is one of the most well-liked players on the roster because of his humor.
Chubb doesn’t express the same kind of emotion – at least not outwardly. That’s just who Chubb is, and after his dominance as a four-year starter at Georgia and his top-10 finish in rushing yards as a rookie in 2018, no one is asking Chubb to change.
“He was like that in Georgia. He hasn’t changed,” head coach Freddie Kitchens said. “I have some of my best friends that coached him in Georgia. He’s the same guy he was when he showed up as a freshman. He’s just bigger, faster, stronger now.”
Check out photos from the tenth day of Browns Camp by team photographer Matt Starkey
Chubb started last season as a backup behind Carlos Hyde but finished as the clear No. 1 starter. He doesn’t have to convince Kitchens — the Browns’ running backs coach for the first three months of last season — for additional reps, yet he’s still performing like his job is at stake 10 days into camp.
The Browns’ defensive line has been one of the biggest strengths of training camp, but Chubb has still been good for a 20-plus yard carry or two each practice during 11-on-11s. He’s done that despite a constant shuffling of players on the right side of the offensive line, and he’s remained consistent and healthy among Kitchens’ early emphasis on running between the tackles.
Chubb, however, has never has been one to celebrate after an impressive run, nor has he given himself much credit in interviews.
He just wants the real games to start. It’ll be hard to tell, but Chubb will have lots fun then, too.
“I’m ready to hit someone besides my own teammates,” Chubb said with a straight face.” I’m pumped about that.”
Kitchens has been reluctant to offer too much praise toward anyone since he was promoted to head coach in January. He’s often said he just wants players to improve each day, and he’s always sure to mention how everyone still has flaws to fix in their game if the Browns want to meet expectations this season.
When Kitchens was asked about Chubb, though, he offered his highest approval. Maybe that’s because Kitchens worked closely with Chubb when Kitchens was the Browns’ running backs coach for the first three months last season.
Or maybe it’s because Chubb has always been one of the most genuine players on the Browns. His only focus is to make his team better, never to be the next to make headlines with a flashy prediction or a boast about his own talent.
That’s a theme Kitchens has preached to the Browns all camp. With Chubb, it’s never been a cliché.
“Nick Chubb is one of the finest human beings I know,” Kitchens said. “He’s one of the hardest workers I know. Nick Chubb is all about work now. You want to know what the definition of keeping your head down and going to work is? It’s him.
Chubb has the potential to win a trip to the Pro Bowl and play as a pivotal piece to the Browns’ playoff pursuit. At those stages, maybe Chubb will then show a burst of emotion — a yell as he flexes his muscles after a goal-line touchdown, or a simple spike of the football after picking up a first down.
No one on the Browns, however, is asking for that. Chubb has already proved that his way is what works best.