Browns, Featured

The people versus Hue: gross negligence against Duke Johnson

Another Sunday has come and gone, and the results in the win/loss column have yet to change. The ups and down of the Browns offense is 2017 is centered on a lack of play-makers at the skill position to break off the big gains. It’s no secret the Browns are short on talent at the wide receiver position; as a position group combined they have 1,070 total receiving yards.1 Mix that with the struggles of Isaiah Crowell and you have the play-making problem in which the Browns are currently entrenched.

The problem here is the fact that the Browns do have a lethal play-maker. A guy who would instantly make the team he resides on much better. A guy who leads the team with 46 receptions as a running back, 20 more than the next name on the roster. Duke Johnson is clearly the Browns best all-around offensive talent, and the gross negligence they displayed on Sunday was downright painful. WFNY’s Joe Gilbert pointed it out early in the season and it remains true today.

The Browns use three principle schemes to get their run game going: inside zone, outside zone, and power. All three are built to be simple for the lineman and get the backs making one cut and and getting downhill. Here’s a breakdown of how Jacksonville fares against each and a look at what the Browns tried to do courtesy of Pro Football Focus’ John Kosko.

Hue Jackson went to the outside zone five times – the scheme Jacksonville struggles covering most. He only let Duke run the scheme twice for ten yards and the Browns totaled just 50 rushing yards on the day in general. Which bring us to the point at hand. Duke Johnson touched the ball a mere six times in total and the Browns limped to seven total points–six of which Duke was responsible for–and 184 total yards. Something is off here. Just take a look at all six plays and the positive results each gave the Browns.

Touch No. 1

Early in the game after a Browns interception they came back out and tried Duke on an outside zone scheme and it net them seven yards. One of their best rushing plays of the day.

Touch No. 2

Browns best concept of the day going five vertical route concept in the borderline Red Zone to put pressure on the single high safety. Duke worked up the numbers and made a great catch and finish into the end zone for a 27 yard touchdown reception.

Touch No. 3

A meaningless check down here on third and 17 that only nets a few yards. This one never had much of a chance.

Touch No. 4

Third and two late in the fourth quarter and Duke turns this loop outside zone into a first down after a dynamic spin move and finish. This easily could have been a loss of yards and punt.

Touch No. 5

Late in the fourth quarter Duke catches an angle route for seven yards on third and five to keep the Browns late drive moving. He is borderline unguardable if he finds his way into a one on one with a linebacker.

Touch No. 6

Duke’s final touch came on a flat route that he broke down the sideline in the Browns final drive. He turned this short route into 21 yards with a deadly stop and start move.

That is it. The Browns targeted Johnson two other times that didn’t lead to touches, but neither would have resulted in much of a gain after poor DeShone Kizer throws. Those plays above are the only touches Duke Johnson was able to muster for the Browns offense in a game where the struggled so mightily. Johnson played on 27 total snaps and was able to account for 66 of the Browns 184 total yards and their only touchdown. It fails to make logical sense. The Browns recognize that Duke has a sore聽 shoulder, but he continues to claim he is at or near 100 percent.

WFNY’s Jacob Rosen noted today that Duke Johnson has averaged 10.2 touches per game this year. His career high is 17 total touches in a game. This arbitrary limit illustrates the major problem at hand. While Duke is perhaps not a feature back who can carry an entire offensive rushing workload, it is a shame to only put the ball in your best play-maker’s hands only 10.2 times per game. Johnson should easily be in the 20 touches per game area, and if the Browns want to find any consistent success, they can’t keep ignoring him.

  1. Yes, Antonio Brown is still out-pacing the entire Browns receiving corps by himself. []

  • MartyDaVille

    The head coach is too busy staring at his play chart and mindlessly sticking to his glorious System to think about things like, How can we win this game?

    Hue is not a head coach.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi MARTY … this is scathing , but warranted … so , do you think Hue gets whacked at season’s end ?

  • RGB

    No. Because the crux of the HBT’s plan to stockpile as many high draft picks as possible is to lose as many games as possible.

  • mgbode

    Sure, but do you think they are actively telling the coaching staff to not try?

  • tigersbrowns2

    it’s not that far out of the realm of possibility that the Browns could (& should) be at least 2-8 right now … if we were 2-8 right now , we more-than-likely wouldn’t be talking about him being fired … ’cause 2-8 would already be improvement over last year , right ?

    while wins may not have been a big part of “the plan” this year , i think they are big for Hue … big for his ego , big for his confidence , big for his young team’s confidence , big for impressing his bosses & employer.

    he is woefully undermanned at the offensive skill positions , yet he is game-planning (?) as if he has a team full of studs (?) … i don’t know.

    Hue is going to have to show something these last 6 games … something !! I’m still for keeping everyone together for 1 more season , but it’s starting to look more & more like that won’t happen.

  • mgbode

    The sunniest of the #TeamSunnyside is trying to stretch to say we could be 2-8 this season. Love ya tb2, but you know that shows just how far the Browns are at the moment.

  • tigersbrowns2

    they should’ve beat the Colts , Jets & Titans … could easily be 2-8 right now.

  • MartyDaVille

    Hi TB2. I didn’t think so until yesterday. Yesterday he didn’t do anything to put his team in a position to win. He cannot adapt to the flow of a game, unless it involves benching his QB. He can’t make the best of what he has, he can only gripe about what he doesn’t have.

    I used to think that he should get a third year just for the sake of the elusive “continuity,” but he’s just not a good coach, and there’s no reason to keep him.

  • RGB

    That’s why Hue is so valuable to The Process. 馃槈

  • tigersbrowns2

    and you know what ? … this actually makes the most sense to me … like maybe they had an agreement in the beginning that everyone would get 3 years minimum , no matter what.

  • RGB

    “Yesterday he didn’t do anything to put his team in a position to win.”

    Which makes him an invaluable part of The Process.

  • MartyDaVille

    You’re brutal! I like it.

  • RGB
  • MartyDaVille

    Easily 2-8? Whoa, that’s crazy talk. Maybe 1-9. Maybe. But even that wouldn’t have been easy.

  • bossman09

    I just don’t want to lose Williams as a DC. We are finally putting together something like an NFL defense.

  • bossman09

    Steelers – couldn’t hang with a better team. Antonio Brown is just that good.
    Ravens – Didn’t have QB to compete against that defense.
    Colts – probably should have won, but the defense didn’t show up until second half. Can’t yell at the offense for only scoring 28.
    Jets – They really should have won the Jets game. That was a failure to coach.
    Texans – Same as Steelers. Just couldn’t hold on against a better team
    Titans – should have won – team was simply out coached.
    Vikings – Same as Steelers/Texans
    Lions – Same as Steelers/Texans/Vikings
    Jags – Same as Steelers/Texans/Vikings/Lions
    So, the team should be 2-7 with some coaching. 6 loses against playoff teams are understandable and in reality no one expected them to win them. 1 loss was a defensive implosion against a bad team. That was just an inexperience thing early in the season. It is reasonable to expect the 2-7 version of the Browns to finish 4-12 but we are below the “shurmur line” for coaching competency. To believe that Jackson isn’t a problem, you have to believe the 2012 Browns with Weeden throwing to Ben Watson and Greg Little, and Trent Richardson running the ball were significantly more talented than 2017 browns. (OK, they did have Gordon for a few games and Travis Benjamin was the 3rd WR)
    Good god that’s a low bar.

  • scripty

    Two issues with the Duke / Randy Ratio
    -Any DC probably identifies Duke as the best weapon and works to diminish him.
    -Duke runs off to the sideline once a game feigning injury. I honestly feel he’s used close to capacity. Maybe not fully but I think there’d be certain diminishing returns.

  • Chris

    Forgot the Bengals blowout.

  • bossman09

    “Any DC probably identifies Duke as the best weapon and works to diminish him.” Which is exactly why he needs to be on the field. If a defense is shading towards Johnson, that means other players are in better position to succeed. It truly is a win-win scenario. Again, instead of less, we need more!

  • Nothing about Duke Johnson screams “durability” to me at this point in his career.

  • Harv

    I don’t think he’s faking injury – he does not go down on first contact and takes some pretty good hits by multiple guys at ends of plays. He’s not that solid and I wonder whether he’s durable enough to be an every down back. Some smaller backs have a knack of avoiding direct contact; he does not.

  • Harv

    ha, that doesn’t happen. He will get paid for 3 though!

  • scripty

    Yeah I used feigning, not faking. He makes actual movements to the sideline that say “sub me I need to re-group”. I’m not saying he’s soft or injury prone, but I think he goes hard but gets lit up fighting for those yards.

    To B-Bo’s point, about keeping him to be a decoy, I get that, but there’s a chance they audible and not you have him exposed. it’s a double-edged sword.

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