This was the week the Browns offense was supposed to go from dominant to unstoppable.
Instead, Kareem Hunt will join a 2-6 team in disarray. Hunt was officially added to the Browns depth chart this week with his eight-game suspension — stemming from his hotel attack of a female college student in Cleveland — completed.
“I’m very much looking forward to Kareem (Hunt) being with us, being able to play,’’ head coach Freddie Kitchens said this week. “He will definitely have a role.”
The problem is it falls on Kitchens to figure out what exactly that role will be. Thus far, the first-year head coach has proven incompetent in maximizing the ability the Browns have at his disposal. It does not all fall on Kitchens as Baker Mayfield has regressed significantly, despite having Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry as his receivers.
The lone bright spot on the offense has been Nick Chubb, who is on pace for 1,600 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. How will adding Hunt — a focal point of the Chiefs offense in his first 27 games in the league before his release — to the backfield affect his role? And Beckham has already griped publicly twice (once on purpose to the irritation of Kitchens, once because he was overheard by CBS sideline reporter Jay Feely) about not getting enough targets the past two weeks.
“Beckham is playing a dependent position that really needs great QB play or at least adequate QB play for him to be him and let’s be real, Baker Mayfield has regressed. But the issue to me is Freddie Kitchens,” Fox Sports analyst and former NFL defensive end Marcellus Wiley said this week on “Speak For Yourself” when asked if the Browns’ struggles fell on Beckham.
“Simple as that. Promoted to offensive coordinator last year after being the running backs coach, now he’s the head coach and still calling plays. He’s had low-light moments. He has to be the one to fix this culture, whoever created it. This culture was already out of control before Odell Beckham arrived on the scene.”
Now Hunt is another factor for Kitchens and Mayfield to figure out in their failing offense.
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