Cleveland Browns: Will Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb Both Top 1,000 Yards Rushing?
Cleveland's dynamic running back duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt combined for almost 2,000 yards rushing last season, even though Chubb (1,067 yards) missed four games. Hunt (841 yards) has rushed for 1,000 yards just once in his career, when he gained 1,327 yards in 2017 as a rookie with the Kansas City Chiefs.
However, Hunt thinks Cleveland will be more explosive in Head Coach Kevin Stefanski's second year, and the 17-game schedule will give running backs an extra game to reach the 1,000-yard plateau.
"I believed it was possible last year, but some things happened," Hunt said via Dan Labbe of Cleveland.com. "We'll learn from it and get better and hopefully continue to put in good work this year. Whatever Stefanski calls, either Nick or I are going to make it work. It doesn't matter if we're on the field or not together, we're going to find a way to get the job done."
The 2019 Ravens were the last team to have two players rush for 1,000 yards when Lamar Jackson (1,206 yards) and Mark Ingram II (1,018 yards) did it. Before that, no team had done it since 2009 when the Carolina Panthers had Jonathan Stewart (1,133 yards) and DeAngelo Williams (1,117).
NFL Network's Bucky Brooks ranked Chubb and Hunt as the No. 2 “Batman & Robin” duo in the league entering the 2021 season.
Chubb is eligible to become a free agent following the 2022 season, and Hunt wants his running mate to sign a new deal so they can continue working together.
"Please pay that man," Hunt said. "He's a freak of nature. He's a brother to me, and I love what he does on and off the field."
Cincinnati Bengals: Tee Higgins 'Going to Be a Problem' for Defenses
Tee Higgins looks ready for a breakout season, according to Bengals Offensive Coordinator Brian Callahan.
Higgins made an immediate impact in 2020 with 67 catches for 908 yards and six touchdowns, finishing third among all rookies in receiving yards. Callahan has high expectations for the 6-foot-3, 220-pound target after watching his work during mandatory minicamp.
"He's markedly more explosive," Callahan said via Geoff Hobson of the Bengals’ website. "When you're a young player you sort of find your way through. I think he's found that. Now he knows what it takes to get to the next level of his game. He put all the work in to do it. He's going to be a problem for defenses."
After taking Ja'Marr Chase with the fifth-[add]overall pick, the Bengals have an explosive wide receiver group on paper featuring Higgins, Chase and Tyler Boyd. Quarterback Joe Burrow was also impressed with Boyd at mandatory minicamp.
"He looks like a different guy out there," Burrow said. "We have some horses on offense that I'm really excited about. Tee's going to have a big year."
Pittsburgh Steelers: Offensive Line Changes Personnel and Mentality
The June 24 release of veteran right guard David DeCastro continued a volatile offseason for the Steelers' offensive line. Veteran tackle Alejandro Villanueva signed with the Ravens during free agency, long-time Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey retired, and free agent left guard Matt Feiler signed with the Los Angeles Chargers.
The contract of former Offensive Line Coach Shaun Sarrett was not renewed after the Steelers ranked last in rushing yards per game (84.4) in 2020. Pittsburgh is retooling its offensive line under the direction of new Offensive Line Coach Adrian Klemm, who wants his group to be aggressive and physical. Second-year guard Kevin Dotson said Klemm got his message across during OTAs and minicamp.
"I feel like there's a little more intensity," Dotson said via Brooke Pryor of ESPN.com. "It's more aggressive, more aggression. Even the way we come off blocks. There is no more getting behind people and blocking. It is more going down the middle of them."
Klemm is looking for the Steelers' offensive line to adopt his personality.
"I'm demanding of guys," Klemm said. "We laugh about it sometimes because I get after them. They're a reflection of me. We're a reflection of each other. I'm not going to accept subpar performances or effort. We're going to make mistakes sometimes, but one thing we're not going to do is get pushed around."