From a defensive perspective, no opponent the Cleveland Browns faced last year has changed less than the Denver Broncos. The coaching staff is new with Vic Fangio as their head coach and there are some new faces, but their identity on that side of the ball is largely the same: Von Miller, Derek Wolfe, Todd Davis, Chris Harris and Justin Simmons. They're a top ten defense with speed, but the path to victory is the same as it was last year. The Browns offense needs to flow from the running game and specifically Nick Chubb.
The Browns beat the Broncos last year in Denver 17-16 with a combination of good defense and Chubb as the focal point on offense. He finished with 20 carries for 100 yards in that game.
That is what the Browns were attempting to do against the New England Patriots last week and had success doing it. Chubb rushed for 131 of the team's 159 yards rushing yards, which could've been a critical factor, but devastating turnovers gave the game to the Patriots before it had a chance.
The coaching staff understands that's where they can become the most consistent on offense and put Baker Mayfield into the best position to succeed. Their pass blocking is always going to be at its best when it's coming from situations where the run is a viable option and they can take full advantage of playaction. Playing behind the sticks and off schedule is not a death sentence to this offense, but it is when they are at their most vulnerable in terms of critical mistakes.
From an offensive line standpoint, they appear to be evolving toward a more run blocking based group. Wyatt Teller is a better run blocking option than Eric Kush and while they have yet to make a full fledged switch to Teller, he did play against the Patriots.
Justin McCray is at least theoretically a better run blocker than Greg Robinson, though that seems to be more about effort in that area of the game than talent. And while trading for Trent Williams would have been about protecting Mayfield's blind side, he's been a dominant run blocker throughout his career. He's the prototype for what James Campen wants to do with his offensive line and what this offense wants to be able to do in the running game. Tremendous mobility, flexibility and overwhelming power on the move with the grace to execute at the highest level.
The Browns get Drew Forbes back next week for the Buffalo Bills and if he starts playing somewhere, likely right tackle, that would be another move towards more of a run blocking unit as well as a potential nod to the future. Kareem Hunt comes back against the Bills as well, which is another reason to move in this direction.
Despite the two fumbles, Chubb is the best player on the Browns offense right now. And until some of the others find their way into playing at the levels they're capable, particularly in the passing game, the offense is largely as simple as finding ways to get the ball to the best player in position to be successful. The Browns have shown to be able to do that and if it happens this week, they should come away with another win in Denver.