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Duke Johnson wore a backpack on Monday - 2018/11/07 09:30 that seemed symbolic.The Browns finally asked him to carry a larger load.Of the handful of positives to emerge from Sunday's 37-21 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs Cleveland Browns Hats , capping another stormy week of change and uncertainty in Cleveland, Johnson's two-touchdown performance was at the top of the list.After being overlooked — some would argue misused — for much of the season, Johnson was the primary focus of the Browns' offensive game plan. He finished with nine catches for 78 yards, added one rush for eight and drew extra attention from Kansas City's defense, which allowed his teammates to make plays.Johnson was hesitant to say it, but Cleveland's change at offensive coordinator, with running backs coach Freddie Kitchens replacing the fired Todd Haley, made a difference."Um," Johnson said sheepishly when asked if the Kitchens-for-Haley swap was the reason for his rise in production. "I guess you could look at it that way. Again, it's the same plays we've been calling, the same offense. There's just certain things that coach Kitchens likes better than coach Haley did."Before Sunday, Johnson's season-high was four catches and there were times when he wasn't on the field at all. What made that even more perplexing was that Johnson led the Browns (2-6-1) with 74 catches for 693 yards last season and developed into one of the NFL's best dual-threat backs.But with Haley concerned about getting touches for running backs Nick Chubb and Carlos Hyde, who was recently traded to Jacksonville, Johnson became the odd-man out.A proven playmaker not getting a chance to make plays.Johnson was targeted by rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield against the Chiefs, and he hopes to get even more opportunities as the season progresses."I think it is possible," Johnson said. "Just going out there and showing what I'm capable of doing, especially showing the reason why I'm here. It was a great showing for myself, but not so much for the team and we're about team here. We should have gotten the win, that's most important."Following his first game since being chosen Hue Jackson's interim replacement, defensive coordinator/head coach Gregg Williams said Johnson's breakout was caused by a combination of things, including Kitchens and Mayfield working together for the first time."Freddie did a good job and Baker, too," Williams said. "Baker's understanding of that from the read process — when a play is called as a quarterback, you don't automatically know it is going to go to that person. There is a read definition that takes you to that person, but from Baker and Freddie, they did a good job with that."It was good to see that with Duke. Just like what we have talked about with other people Cleveland Browns Womens Hoodie , I think he can do more and he will. He had a good fire about him, and he will continue to improve too. We need him to improve."Getting Johnson more involved didn't result in a win for the Browns, but it was a small step toward improvement.Cleveland matched a season-low with only four penalties, and Williams, who decided early on he was going to be aggressive, liked that his offense converted three times on fourth down.The Browns couldn't keep up with Kansas City's high-speed, high-scoring offense, but Johnson was impressed with the team's character in the aftermath of Jackson and Haley's firings."I never saw them blink," he said. "One, two, scores down or whatever, we were always in a position to continue to fight. I never saw them blink. That is good. That is what we are supposed to do as professionals. Young team, old team, I do not care — that was good. There was a lot of positive that way. Defensively, we have to play better."Another bright spot was left tackle Greg Robinson. The 2014 No. 2 overall pick made his first start for Cleveland filling in for Desmond Harrison, who was out with an unspecified illness. Robinson not only protected Mayfield's blind side, but handled all his other duties."He played well, didn't he?" said Williams, who was on the Rams' staff when they selected Williams. "I've seen him develop as a young guy. I've seen him have his battles, ups and downs, and it's been good."Following the game, Mayfield singled out Robinson, who was grateful for the QB's praise."It felt good to just get out there with the boys, taking it to the game field rather than just practicing," said Robinson, signed by the Browns in June. "It was encouraging and I'm really happy that he spoke well about me."NOTES: Williams did not have updates on rookie CB Denzel Ward (hip) Womens Customized Cleveland Browns Jerseys , CB E.J. Gaines (concussion) or LB Christian Kirksey (hamstring), all injured Sunday. Williams reiterated his decision to sit DB Damarious Randall (groin) was so he can be healthy for multiple games and not just one. Tampa Bay's struggling defense will be without middle linebacker Kwon Alexander for the remainder of the season.The fourth-year pro was injured during the first half of Sunday's 26-23 overtime victory over the Cleveland Browns.A MRI performed Monday confirmed that the 24-year-old, a fourth-round draft pick in 2015, has a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee."It's unfortunate," coach Dirk Koetter said. "Kwon was playing so well, and was the heart and soul of our defense."Koetter said backup linebacker Jack Cichy also suffered a season-ending knee injury against Cleveland and will miss the remainder of the year."Our locker room at halftime was extremely emotional," Koetter said. "Kwon came out of the training room right about the time we were getting ready to go back on the field. It was emotional. You could tell guys really care (about him)."Alexander has started all 46 games he's appeared in during his NFL career. He was a Pro Bowl selection two years ago and was having one of his best games of the season when he took an awkward step while rushing the passer and tumbled to the ground in the final minute of the second quarter.He walked off the field and to the locker room without help, but he did not play the second half."Guys like Kwon mean everything to this team, and I have empathy for him," quarterback Jameis Winston said."Before we left out there for halftime, he was like: 'Never take anything for granted.' He's so right," Winston added. "We see the passion he plays with. We see the heart he puts in the locker room. ... We're going to miss him, and I know he is going to make an amazing comeback."Losing Alexander and Cichy will severely test a unit that was criticized for its play during a three-game losing streak that followed a 2-0 start.Cornerback Vernon Hargreves III and safety Chris Conte were placed on injured reserve in September. First-round draft pick Vita Vea missed most of training camp and the start of the season with a calf problem, and four other players — tackles Gerald McCoy and Beau Allen, end Vinny Curry and cornerback Brent Grimes — have missed at least one start because of injuries.With Tampa Bay sitting at or near the bottom of the league in several key categories, including points allowed, defensive coordinator Mike Smith was fired last week and replaced by linebackers coach Mark Duffner.The defense was sharper in its first game under Duffner, sacking Baker Mayfield five times and yielding a season-low 305 yards to the offensively challenged Browns."You've got to have a next-man-up mentality. Kwon is a key piece to this defense," linebacker Lavonte David said, adding that several reserves stepped up and played well while filling in for McCoy, Curry and Alexander against Cleveland."Those guys ... filled the void, and that's what you've got to do," David added. "You never know when your number's going to get called, and their numbers were called (Sunday)."
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