Despite all the erratic play around him, the second-year running back out of the University of Georgia was a consistent force. While shouldering an offense that ranked just 20th in efficiency, Chubb came within 47 yards of capturing the NFL rushing title on the way to his first Pro Bowl.
Now, as the Browns shift from a pass-happy scheme to coach Kevin Stefanski's rush-heavy attack, Chubb could be primed for an extraordinary third season, which not only could catapult him to that rushing title but also elevate Cleveland's offense into one of the league's best.
"I'm excited," the always-taciturn Chubb said this week, when asked what he could do in an offense that figures to revolve around him. "Excited about the new offense, the new coaches, the new team, the new year."
The new year brought about big changes in Cleveland that stand to benefit Chubb, who, being extension eligible after this season, will aim to capitalize accordingly.
On the heels of last year's disappointing 6-10 finish, the Browns brought in first-time head coach Stefanski and general manager Andrew Berry.
Though it remains to be seen if he'll call plays or hand off that duty to offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt, Stefanski used multiple tight ends 57% of the time last year as offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings, the highest rate in the league. Out of those power looks and outside zone plays, the Vikings were formidable on the ground.
Minnesota, in fact, ranked seventh in the league in EPA (expected points added) on rushes -- four spots ahead of the Browns, despite Chubb's huge year. Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, meanwhile, averaged 2.85 yards before first contact; Chubb averaged 2.76. Given that he also was second in the league by averaging 2.27 yards after first contact, Chubb stands to be even more effective out of Stefanski's scheme, provided the Browns can create the same initial space that the Vikings delivered for Cook.
"I've been running that since college," Chubb said of the outside zone. "I think it'll be the same thing, just maybe a little bit different scheme and different guys up front touching things up."
Those different guys up front should boost Chubb, as well.
Not long after taking the GM job, Berry set out to shore up Cleveland's blocking, which was a mess at times on the perimeter. Berry first signed the top tight end on the free-agent market in Austin Hooper, who will start alongside returning tight end David Njoku.
Berry also spent the No. 10 overall draft pick on Jedrick Wills Jr., who will shift to left tackle after protecting the blindside of lefty quarterback Tua Tagovailoa from the right side at Alabama. Rounding out Cleveland's major offseason moves, Berry nabbed the top free-agent right tackle, as well, in Jack Conklin, who helped pave the way for Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry to narrowly best Chubb for last year's rushing title.
Chubb admitted that coming up short against Henry only provided "more motivation" for him to be even better -- and this time potentially win that rushing title.
"Hopefully, we can do that again here," Chubb said. "We added some great additions to the line, and I look forward to going out there and playing with them."