Duke Johnson’s frustrating 2018 season continues. The first half can’t end soon enough for the Cleveland Browns running back and wide receiver.

The lack of touches over the first seven weeks is mind boggling considering how big of an impact he had in 2017 on an 0-16 football team.

Even a trade involving former teammate Carlos Hyde did not increase the load for Johnson. So what is it going to take for offensive coordinator Todd Haley to get the football in the hands of the Browns dual threat running back?

“We will see,” Johnson said Wednesday.

The stat line for Johnson in Sunday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is disturbing. One carry for minus four yards. That’s right, Johnson only carried the football one time. He had four receptions but for only 23-yards. Should Johnson ask Haley and Hue Jackson for more touches of the football?

“No sir. I will say it again, I do not go to coaches and demand the ball,” Johnson said. “I let my play speak for itself. My leadership, my blocking. I let everything that I do, outside of making plays with the ball, do all of the talking.”

Duke is being a professional when he is addressing the media. Seriously, is he surprised for the lack of involvement in Haley’s offense especially follow the Hyde trade?

“Surprised? I am not sure if I can use the word surprised,” Johnson said. ‘”Not surprised at all to be honest with you. I can go back and forth and say that I should get the ball and let me get the ball. At the end of the day, I do not call the plays. When my number is called, I have to find a way to make the play, regardless of when it is and what is the score. We all just have to find ways to make plays when the opportunity is given.”

You would think the opportunities would be there following the Hyde trade to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Perhaps Sunday’s meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers is the day the Duke runs wild.

“I am doing my job, regardless of what it is,” Johnson said. “I think the one thing that I have said since I have been here is that I am always going to do my job regardless of what it is. Regardless of what they ask me to do, I am going to do it. I am going to do it week in and week out. Regardless of what they ask me to do and regardless of what it is, I am going to do it. I know that my blocking is something that I have been taking pride in that and finding something that I find joy in. I find joy in picking up blitzes, protecting our quarterback and keeping the pocket clean.”

Johnson may not have been surprised about his lack of involvement following the Hyde trade. What did surprise him is the trade of Hyde itself.

“I think we all were surprised by the trade,” Johnson said. “That is kind of part of the business in the aspect of us as players, we grow a relationship with players and one day they are here and one day they are not. Wish he was still here because he was one of the best guys that I have been around in a while, and he was a better football player. We all wish him the best.”

The Browns made the deal to give rookie Nick Chubb more carries going forward. Chubb can be the thunder in the Browns backfield. However, if you have thunder you need lightning to go along with it to be  a successful running football team. That’s why Johnson needs for attempts starting this Sunday in Pittsburgh.

Scott Piker is the Cleveland Browns Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage.com. So follow him on twitter @ScottPikerSport


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