BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Duke Johnson makes the Browns’ coaching staff hold their breath every time he touches the football.
In a good way run game coordinator Kirby Wilson explained Friday morning.
“Every time he touches it, collectively, we kind of hold our breath because we think potentially something special could happen,” Wilson said. “He is that type of playmaker, and he is dynamic with the ball in his hand. Anytime he gets it, we are looking for big things to occur.”
You can point to Johnson scoring on a 41-yard touchdown that came off of a simple screen pass last week against the Jets that saw him shed defenders and weave his way into the endzone as to exhibit A of how dynamic of a playmaker he can be when given the opportunity.
“There were several times where he could have gone down, and he refused to,” Wilson said. “That has kind of been him all season. The first guy rarely gets him down on the ground and then to watch him come alive with the ball in his hand really kind of excited everyone on the sideline and gave you hope that we might be able to steal this game in spite of what has happened for most of the ball game.”
Wilson’s adulation was news to the running back who said his position coach isn’t nearly as complimentary on the practice field.
“That is just to keep me grounded, make sure I do what I have to do and not to get big headed,” Johnson said with a smile.
Ego is not a quality the soft-spoken Johnson seems to possess. He does his talking on the field.
Johnson leads the Browns in catches with 23 and receiving yards with 270 while rushing 16 times for 77 yards. He’s scored 3 times – 2 by land and the third by air.
Shock And Awe – Myles Garrett’s debut last week was brief, but incredible. Not 1 but 2 sacks in just 19 snaps including the first one coming on his first regular season snap that saw him blow right up the middle untouched.
“That was something we had hoped we could get, and they just cooperated,” defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said. “It just kind of fell into what we wanted to have done. Make no bones about it, though, that protection was built to handle what we did, but Myles’ quickness shocked that left guard.
“He saw him setting out there wide, so he was doing everything he could to go, and Myles tricked him. We had a trick thing where Myles crossed his face and went back inside. He went back inside so fast that the guy had no chance.”
Williams admitted that Garrett was slowed in the second half by soreness in his right ankle and they didn’t want to take any unnecessary chances.
“He is a smart enough guy that he doesn’t fib or exaggerate when he is talking to the doctors and the trainers, and we all see it,” Williams said. “It will just be a process, and we don’t want setbacks. There is no magic number. He would have played more last week if it hadn’t had been difficult for him to change direction. It just got sore.”
No Brainer – Keeping kicker Zane Gonzalez was “a no brainer” in the eyes of special teams coordinator Chris Tabor.
Gonzalez missed a pair of field goals – 52 and 39 yards – in last Sunday’s 17-14 loss to the Jets and he’s missed his last 3 field goal attempts overall nut the rookie’s confidence hasn’t been shaken according to Tabor.
“Obviously, he is disappointed, there is no doubt about that,” Tabor said. “That is not a bad quality. He cares, wants to do well and he is going to do well, but he knows that sometimes this happens. What I tried to tell him, I said, ‘Hey, you were not the only kicker that missed two kicks on Sunday.’ (Packers K) Mason Crosby missed two kicks for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday also. It does happen. The mark of a good pro is getting back up, bouncing back and working hard, and he has done all of those things to give himself a chance to play at a high level on Sunday.”
Tabor said that he was “asked questions” when the decision to keep Gonzalez over current Dolphins kicker Cody Parkey was made but, “I don’t make personnel decisions.”
No Worries – Center J.C. Tretter expects to play Sunday after missing practice this week due to a knee injury.
“I’m not too worried about it. I should be fine,” Tretter said in the locker room Friday.
If Tretter is a scratch, back up Austin Reiter, who started last year against Washington before tearing his ACL, would replace him. On Thursday right tackle Shon Coleman, who also is working through a knee injury, said he expected to play Sunday as well. If COleman doesn’t go Spencer Drango would.
Injury Report – OUT: None; Doubtful: LB James Burgess (knee); QUESTIONABLE: C JC Tretter (knee), RT Shon Coleman (knee), WR Kenny Britt (knee/groin); EXPECTED TO PLAY: LT Joe Thomas (knee/rest), WR Sammie Coates (hamstring), LB Jamie Collins (concussion), DT Danny Shelton (calf), TE Randall Telfer (knee), RG Kevin Zeitler (thumb), CB Jamar Taylor (ribs), DE Myles Garrett (ankle), B.J. Bello (neck), DL Jamie Meder (toe).