Duke Johnson shows Browns what he can do for them in loss to Chiefs

Gregg Williams defends Jamie Collins effort

Daryl Ruiter
November 05, 2018 - 4:23 pm
Duke Johnson scored touchdown against Kansas City Chiefs for Cleveland Browns

Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

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Berea, OH (92.3 The Fan) – The Cleveland Browns finally used Duke Johnson Jr. Sunday and it paid off in a big way offensively.

Johnson, who was averaging just over five touches per game this season, got 10 of them in a 37-21 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and finished with 86 combined yards of offense and two touchdowns.

“It was good to see that with Duke,” interim head coach Gregg Williams said Monday. “I think he can even do more, and he will.”

Johnson was targeted nine times and he caught every one for 78 yards, including touchdowns of 19 and five yards from quarterback Baker Mayfield.

“Just going out there and showing what I’m capable of doing [and] basically showing the reason why I’m here,” Johnson said. “It was a great showing for myself, but not so much for the team, and we’re about team here.”

Johnson refused to say that the firings of Hue Jackson and Todd Haley combined with former running backs coach Freddie Kitchens now calling plays as the offensive coordinator was the reason for his elevated role.

“I guess you can look at it that way,” Johnson said.

Once again the Browns played from behind, much like they’ve done all season, but Johnson helped keep them in the game.

“Coming in we knew Kansas City was a high-powered offense,” Johnson said. “Every drive we [knew we] had to go out there and pretty much either get points or hold the ball as long as we can.”

His first score, which came with 26 seconds remaining in the second quarter, pulled Cleveland within 21-15 at halftime on a 19-yard catch-and-run up the far sideline into the end zone. His second TD on the first play of the fourth quarter pulled them within 34-21.

With Kitchens calling plays, maybe Johnson and rookie Nick Chubb, who ran 22 times for 85 yards and a touchdown, will see the ball more going forward.

“I think Nick Chubb ran the ball very well,” Johnson said. “It opened up play action, it opened up a lot for this team and that is something I try to go out and do.”

Perception is reality – Williams is aware of the heat linebacker Jamie Collins is taking for what is perceived to be a lack of effort from fans and media.

Multiple replays from Sunday’s game that showed Collins not making much of an attempt to get involved in stopping a few runs circulated on social media, but Williams took up for him again on Monday.

“I will say this, and it's come across my desk a few times today, we gotta play better on defense. We do,” Williams said. “We've gotta play better on defense as a whole. It’s not him. I gotta coach better.”

Change coming? – Greg Robinson received positive reviews after stepping in for rookie Desmond Harrison at left tackle Sunday. Harrison was out with an illness.

“Played well, didn't he? He played well,” Williams said. “It was good to see. I think Bob Wylie and those guys have done a good job with him, but it's day to day.”

After the game Mayfield mentioned Robinson right off the bat when he was asked about positives he took away from the loss.

“After watching the film, I felt like I played well,” Robinson said. “It felt good to just get out there with the boys ad taking it to the field rather than just practicing. It was encouraging and I’m really happy that he spoke well of me.”

Robinson was drafted No. 2 overall by the Rams in 2014 and Williams was the defensive coordinator. There seems to be a chance going forward that Williams could opt for familiarity to protect Mayfield’s blind side over a rookie that has struggled.

Help wanted – With Terrance Mitchell still on injured reserve and now cornerbacks E.J. Gaines (concussion) and Denzel Ward (hip) banged up, the Browns might need some secondary help, pronto.

“I trust John (Dorsey) and that group of guys. I really do,” Williams said. “Been real impressed with them since I've been here. The big thing is, what I can control is what's here.”

As of Monday afternoon, T.J. Carrie, Denzel Rice and Tavierre Thomas is all that is available on the back end for Williams.  

Injury report – Williams did not provide any injury updates Monday.

Receiver Jarvis Landry was seen in the locker room wearing a wrap on his right wrist after getting banged up on a two-point conversion Sunday.