Potential of Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt tandem excites Kevin Stefanski

Kevin Stefanski cherishes his early mornings. The office is mostly empty, and little interferes with Stefanski and the TV in front of him.

In his first few days as Browns head coach, Stefanski has carved out some time in the morning to break down film of his new players. He's spent plenty of time watching quarterback Baker Mayfield, with whom he'll work closely in hopes of bouncing back from a tough 2019, but there's been plenty else catching his eye before the sun rises in Berea.

To Stefanski, one year removed from leading an offense that ran more than it passed, running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt certainly look the part as a dynamic tandem that can make life easier on Mayfield and himself.

"Those two guys are jumping off the tape," Stefanski said Thursday during an interview on ESPN 850's Really Big Show. "I could not be more impressed by those two.

"Nick Chubb, man, wow the tape is so impressive. I can't wait to meet Nick Chubb the person because everyone is raving about him … (Hunt) is such a talented player. He's from Ohio, so I know I'm going to get a chance to visit with him at some point."

Check out photos of new head coach Kevin Stefanski's first press conference

The Chubb-Hunt tandem was among the bright spots on a Browns offense that failed to maintain much consistency throughout 2019. 

From start to finish, Chubb never slowed down, finishing the season with 1,494 rushing yards -- second-most in the NFL, fourth-most in Browns history -- and eight touchdowns. Hunt joined the fray midway through the season after serving an eight-game suspension and provided an immediate jolt. The NFL's leading rusher in 2017 with the Chiefs, Hunt ran for 179 yards and caught 37 passes for 285 yards with a combined three touchdowns.

As a team, Cleveland ranked 12th in the NFL in rushing. The Vikings, led by Dalvin Cook, were sixth and ran the ball 83 more times. Minnesota was one of just three teams in the NFL to attempt more runs than passes.

"Our offense this year in Minnesota wasn't perfect. I'm not going to tell you that, but I think you saw an offense that married the run and the pass game," Stefanski said. "That's something you guys are going to hear me say a lot of. I think there's certain elements of the play-action world that are built off the run game that is ultimately a big part of what we're going to do, and that's very quarterback friendly."

Chubb will be back for his third season with the Browns. Hunt, entering his fourth season, is a restricted free agent. If the two are back together for a full season, Stefanski expressed confidence he'd find a way to utilize both in a productive fashion.

"If we've got two good ones, we'll figure it out. That's no problem for us. That's a good problem if it's a problem at all," Stefanski said. "It's our job to make sure we've got all these good players, let's use them. Let's use them in the right way."

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