Duke Johnson strives to live up to his own high expectations

BEREA, Ohio -- Duke Johnson stood in front of his locker on Thursday after practice, his green Incredible Hulk winter hat belying his calm demeanor. The rookie running back has started to show the promise of the player the Browns drafted in the third round back in May, catching 21 passes in the last three games for 172 yards and a score.

"I'm trying," Johnson said when asked about finding his stride. "I'm trying. It's a long season. Longer than I'm used to. I'm just trying to do it consistently and do it game in and game out."

Johnson was drafted to give the Browns something they lacked much of last season -- a playmaking back to catch the football out of the backfield. He's been that and more on a team that, coming into this season, was thought to be lacking in offensive weapons.

Johnson was slowed by a hamstring injury suffered on the third day of training camp. He missed the team's first two preseason games and suffered a concussion in the third preseason game in Tampa Bay. Still, he's been able to avoid the woes that some rookies suffer who miss those valuable reps.

"At the end of the day, it's football," Johnson said, "and as long as you prepare yourself the right way -- you miss training camp, but as long as you prepare, make sure you know what you're doing, when you get there you should be able to do fine."

In the end, Johnson said, others' expectations aren't important to him.

"My expectations are a lot higher than anyone can have for me," Johnson said. "As long as I live up to my expectations I'm fine."

What are his expectations?

"Go out there and play the best I can play for that one play," Johnson said. "Take it one play at a time."

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