Jets Fans United: Jets Defense Facing Browns’ Explosive ‘1 – 2 RB Punch’

September 17, 2022

No time for the Jets to rest in defending the run game as they transition from their performance against the Ravens to their matchup with the Browns in Week 2.

Jets Front 7 Readying for Browns Rush Attack

Jets are preparing for another challenging matchup in the trenches in Week 2. New York travels to Cleveland, set to face the two-headed monster of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.

Last season, the Browns were fourth in the NFL, averaging 145.4 rushing yards per game. They flexed that dominance on the ground in their Week 1 win over the Panthers, rushing for 217 yards (second-most yards in the league to open the 2022 season).

Against Carolina, Chubb racked up 141 rushing yards on 22 carries. Hunt added 46 rushing yards on 11 touches with a touchdown.

“They have, arguably, the best one-two punch at running back between Chubb and Hunt,” Jets head coach Robert Saleh told reporters on Friday. “[Offensive line coach] Bill Callahan and [head coach Kevin] Stefanski, they do as good of a job as anyone with regards to creating issues in the run game. So, they’re very talented there.”

Two Weeks in a Row Jets Defense Facing a Run Offense

Defensive End Carl Lawson, who has plenty of experience against the Cleveland Browns from his time in the AFC North with the Bengals has also praised Cleveland’s rushing attack, calling Hunt and Chubb two of the top-10 backs in the league.

Jets preparing for rushing attack led by Nick Chubb week 2 – Courtesy of USA Today

Brown’s rushing attack is much more traditional. While the Ravens use a mobile quarterback as the focal point of their ground game, with plenty of misdirection and deception, Cleveland will pound the rock all afternoon, even when you know it’s coming.

“This one’s different in the sense that you pretty much know where they’re running, how they’re going to do it, and they don’t care. It’s a different mentality, which you appreciate as a football coach,” Saleh added. “They are running the ball, they still have good pass game and all that stuff too, they’ve got great play action, pass system. Now, this one is more direct, but at the same time, they get you running, they move gaps, and it’s a really cool scheme.”

Jets DC Jeff Ulbrich Explains, Challenge Similar to Week 1

Jets DC Jeff Ulbrich explained that similar to Week 1, if New York is unable to stop the run, it’ll be a long game for their defense. The mindset remains the same entering this matchup—setting the edge and bringing all 11 hats to the football—but the type of runners they’re facing will be a little bit different.

“They’re both powerful, they’re both strong, they’re both extremely fast,” Ulbrich told reporters on Thursday. “They’ve got the ability to do the dirty work inside and push the pile and do the hard ball running. But they also have the ability to finish runs because they both have explosiveness, top end speed.”

In Week 1, the Jets defense limited Baltimore to 63 rushing yards. Only two other teams had fewer rushing yards to begin the campaign. They still couldn’t stop the explosive plays through the air as the game developed, though. That’s what led to a blowout victory for the Ravens.

If New York can keep the Cleveland Browns in third-and-long situations, forcing them to throw the football (with QB Jacoby Brissett), they’ll be in a good spot on that side of the ball. Containing those two backs and setting an edge early on is one of the Jets’ only paths to victory.

“It’s rare in this modern-day NFL that you get back-to-back games like this where they’re a run first team, so it’s a great challenge for us,” Ulbrich said.