Cleveland's Kareem Hunt Conundrum: Navigating a Browns Backfield Quagmire


Sep 20, 2023

The Cleveland Browns’ backfield drama has NFL Twitter in a frenzy, particularly surrounding Kareem Hunt. The social media uproar this morning paints a vivid picture. Let’s dissect what’s truly happening here.

Firstly, Hunt’s free agency saga could be best described as a whirlwind tour. From the New Orleans Saints to the Indianapolis Colts, then over to the Baltimore Ravens, Hunt seemed like a man perpetually in auditions. It’s not an exaggeration to say that he might have garnered more frequent flyer miles in his tryouts than most salesmen! Despite these tryouts, he remained unsigned until the Browns swooped in with an incentive-laden deal.

Such a contract, rich in incentives, can be a double-edged sword. It might be an avenue for Hunt to earn lucratively based on his performance, or it could be the Browns hedging their bets, ensuring they aren’t overcommitting financially.

Now, here’s the on-the-field reality: Jerome Ford is making a compelling case to be the Browns’ premier running back. He’s no Nick Chubb, and few are, but Ford’s recent showcase on Monday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers suggests he’s more than capable of leading the charge. With Hunt’s status for Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans up in the air and the likelihood of him not being significantly involved even if dressed, Ford is primed to solidify his standing.

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Discussing the Browns’ strategy, it’s clear they might rely heavily on their ground game. The shortcomings in their passing game, exemplified by criticisms surrounding Deshaun Watson, means the Browns might allocate up to 35 carries per game between their running backs. Ford and Hunt will have ample opportunities if this is the strategy moving forward.

If Ford replicates or even betters his Monday night performance this coming Sunday, Coach Kevin Stefanski and the Browns’ decision-makers will have a good problem on their hands. They’ll need to determine the backfield’s pecking order, potentially relegating Hunt to third-down duties, reminiscent of his role in past seasons.

Early season roster decisions can set the tone for the entire year. Spending wisely and ensuring you have the right players in your arsenal is pivotal. As for the Browns’ backfield, only time will tell how this intriguing situation unfolds.

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Thumbnail photo via Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports

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