Tuesday's NFL: Browns star RB Nick Chubb to miss second game with calf injury
Berea, Ohio — The NFL’s top rushing team has run into major trouble.
Browns star back Nick Chubb will miss his second straight game with a calf injury, leaving Cleveland without its two best backs Thursday night against the Denver Broncos.
Chubb was ruled out Tuesday by coach Kevin Stefanski before practice. He also didn’t play against Arizona on Sunday, when running back Kareem Hunt suffered a calf injury that could sideline him for more than a month.
Hunt was placed on injured reserve — meaning he will miss at least three games — along with rookie linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.
The Browns lead the league in rushing, averaging 165 yards per game. While Chubb and Hunt are recovering, D’Ernest Johnson will step in as Cleveland’s primary back and make his first start Thursday. He has just three carries for 11 yards this season.
Johnson provided a spark last season when Chubb got hurt against Dallas and missed four games with a sprained knee. Johnson came in and ran for 95 yards in the win over the Cowboys.
“You guys saw D’Ernest in there last season at times, and he was very dependable and he was very accountable,” Stefanski told reporters. “Broke some long runs for us. Can really catch the ball. I have a ton of faith in D’Ernest, just like all of these guys who may be called upon.”
One of the game’s top runners, the 25-year-old Chubb, who has 523 yards and four touchdowns in five games, hurt his calf toward the end of Cleveland’s loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Oct. 10.
The severity of Chubb’s injury is not known while Stefanski said on Monday that Hunt will likely be out in the “ballpark” of four to six weeks.
The 26-year-old Hunt is invaluable to Cleveland’s offense as a complement to Chubb as well as being a run-and-receiving threat capable of breaking off a big play or gaining tough yards. Hunt has rushed for 361 yards and five touchdowns.
Stefanski said quarterback Baker Mayfield will be limited in practice and it’s too early to know if he’ll play Thursday because of a painful shoulder injury or if starting tackles Jack Conklin and Jedrick Wills Jr. will be back after sitting out Sunday.
Also, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has a shoulder issue and is not expected to do much in practice.
A second-round draft pick from Notre Dame, Owusu-Koramoah suffered a high ankle sprain against the Cardinals. He’s been one of the bright spots on an Browns inconsistent defense and his playing time has steadily increased all season.
Owusu-Koramoah’s loss will have a ripple effect. Anthony Walker Jr. will likely stay on the field for passing downs and Mack Wilson’s playing time should increase.
The Ravens put tackle Ronnie Stanley on injured reserve. He spent the latter half of last season on IR as well because of an ankle injury, and he’s played only in the season opener this year.
Stanley has been a regular starter for the Ravens since beginning his NFL career in 2016.
… The Jaguars cut veteran kicker Josh Lambo, two days after unheralded Matt Wright hit two field goals from beyond 50 yards in the final minutes to beat Miami and end the NFL’s longest losing streak in 44 years.
Lambo, the league’s most accurate kicker between 2017 and 2020, was inactive the last three games while dealing with confidence issues.
… Cowboys safety Damontae Kazee was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated in a Dallas suburb, police said.
The Colony police Sgt. Aaron Woodard said Kazee was booked on a Class B misdemeanor. Kazee was released around midday after posting $2,500 bond, Woodard said.
… The Bears placed linebacker Robert Quinn on the reserve/COVID-19 list, possibly leaving them without one of their top pass rushers when they visit Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.
… The Giants have placed starting left tackle Andrew Thomas on injured reserve with foot and ankle problems.