13 questions for Duke Johns JJ Watt Wisconsin Badgers Jersey on, who played a vital role in Browns securing another dramatic win

Call him the closer.

Duke Johnson hasn’t carried the ball much this season but he had it in his hands when it mattered most against the Ravens. His three carries for a combined 24 yards as the clock wound down in overtime helped set up Greg Joseph’s game-winning field goal. 

It was the sixth win of Johnson’s four-year career. It’s hard to find anyone who took the losing of the past to heart more than Johnson, and now he’s thrilled to be a part of a team with some legitimate momentum.

ClevelandBrowns.com caught up with Johnson as the Browns wrapped up their preparations for the Chargers.

CB.com: You’re going into Week 6 with a couple of wins under your belt after a couple of rough years. What’s it feel like to finally get that winning feeling going in your fourth season?

Johnson: It’s a great feeling, especially when we’re not surprising ourselves when we win. We’re competing with some of the best teams, especially the first couple of weeks; tied one, lost one. We’re just trying to keep the momentu JJ Watt Women’s Jersey m going.

CB.com: For you in particular, I know the losing was tough on you. How tough were those first two weeks when you guys came oh so close but were still waiting?

Johnson: It was definitely tough. I think it was a different feeling knowing that the first game we didn’t lose, we tied, and the second game we knew we were supposed to win that game. Going forward from that, it’s about stacking wins now.

CB.com: When you stepped in here from offseason workouts, when did you know this was a different team?

Johnson: I didn’t really judge the team. The team didn’t show me anything until the regular season. When we got behind, we were able to fight back and show what kind of team we are. I don’t like to base anything off preseason or practice. It’s all about the game and how we’re doing.

CB.com: Coach Hue Jackson talked earlier this week about the team needing to stay grounded after picking up a couple of wins. How has that message resonated in the locker room?

Johnson: It’s the same guys. I don’t think this locker room needs a reminder that we haven’t done anything yet. It’s a lot of guys in this locker room who know we haven’t done anything. While the reminder is good, we don’t necessarily need it because we know we haven’t done anything.

CB.com: You were kind of the closer at the end of last week’s game. What was opening up for you there and how’d that feel to get it done for the team?

Johnson: The O-line did everything. Literally everything. I just stayed true to my track and ran where the hole opened up.

CB.com: What was going through your mind during the field-goal attempt?

Johnson: I was with Damarious (Randall) during the kick. We were like, ‘we’re not going to look and we’ll listen to the crowd and the crowd will tell us whether we won or not.’ We sat there, we heard the crowd, we knew the game was over and we won.

Cleveland Browns 53-Man Roster

The Browns' 53-man roster as of October 9, 2018.





Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield throws a pass against the New York Jets during the first half of an NFL football game Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)

David Richard/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Drew Stanton throws during pregame of an NFL football preseason game against the Detroit Lions, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

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Cleveland Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor looks to throw during the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Ron Schwane/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (31) rushes during the first half of an NFL football preseason game against the Detroit Lions, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Carlos Osorio/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Detroit Lions defensive back Mike Ford (38) helps push Cleveland Browns running back Dontrell Hilliard (25) out of bounds during the second half of an NFL football preseason game, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

Rick Osentoski/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Cleveland Browns running back Carlos Hyde (34) rushes during the first half of the team’s NFL football preseason game against the Buffalo Bills, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)

David Richard/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Cleveland Browns running back Duke Johnson (29) runs the ball against Cincinnati Bengals free safety George Iloka (43) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)

Gary Landers/AP

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Antonio Callaway (11) runs away from New York Giants’ Orion Stewart (45) and Tae Davis (58) for a touchdown during the second half of a preseason NFL football game Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Adam Hunger

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Rashard Higgins (81) runs a route during an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, in Cleveland. The Jets won 17-14. (AP Photo/David Richard)

David Richard

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry (80) runs a route during an NFL football preseason game against the Buffalo Bills, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, in Cleveland. Buffalo won 19-17. (AP Photo/David Richard)

David Richard/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Damion Ratley warms up before an NFL football preseason game between the Buffalo Bills and the Browns, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Ron Schwane/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Rod Streater catches a ball during practice at the NFL football team’s training camp in Pittsford, N.Y., Friday, July 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

Adrian Kraus

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Derrick Willies warms up before an NFL football preseason game between the Buffalo Bills and the Browns, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Ron Schwane/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Cleveland Browns tight end Orson Charles warms up before an NFL football game between the Browns and the Philadelphia Eagles, Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Ron Schwane/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Cleveland Browns tight end Seth DeValve (87) runs a route during an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, in Cleveland. The Jets won 17-14. (AP Photo/David Richard)

David Richard

Cleveland Browns tight end Darren Fells attempts to make a catch during the team’s organized team activity at its NFL football training facility Tuesday, June 5, 2018, in Berea, Ohio. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Ron Schwane/AP 2018

Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (85) plays against the Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Don Wright

Cleveland Browns guard Joel Bitonio (75) plays against Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Chris Smith (94) in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Ron Schwane

OL Austin JJ Watt Jersey  Corbett in action against the Buffalo Bills.

Brent Durken/Cleveland Browns

In this Aug. 30, 2018, file photo, Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Desmond Harrison (69) defends the line as Detroit Lions defensive end Anthony Zettel (69) rushes during the first half of an NFL football preseason game, in Detroit. The Browns could be shaking up their offensive line again. With the season opener against Pittsburgh just a week away, coach Hue Jackson said Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, that “all avenues” are open with his offensive line, which has been in flux since 10-time Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas retired after last season. Jackson reiterated he wants the “best five guys out there” and he said undrafted rookie Desmond Harrison could be in the mix. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

Paul Sancya/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

OL Chris Hubbard plays in a game against the Buffalo Bills.

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Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Greg Robinson (78) walks off the field after an NFL football preseason game against the Buffalo Bills, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, in Cleveland. Buffalo won 19-17. (AP Photo/David Richard)

David Richard/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter (64) lines up during an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, in Cleveland. The Titans won 12-9 in overtime. (AP Photo/David Richard)

David Richard

Arizona Cardinals offensive guard Earl Watford (71) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Dec.10, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Rick Scuteri

Cleveland Browns offensive guard Kevin Zeitler (70) plays against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Keith Srakocic/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Cleveland Browns strong safety Briean Boddy-Calhoun practices before an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)

Gary Landers/AP

DB T.J. Carrie in action during practice at the Browns’ facility in Berea.

John H. Reid III/Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns defensive back E.J. Gaines runs through special teams drills during the team’s organized team activity at its NFL football training facility Tuesday, June 5, 2018, in Berea, Ohio. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Ron Schwane/AP 2018

Cleveland Browns strong safety Derrick Kindred (26) lines up during an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Cleveland. Cincinnati won 31-7. (AP Photo/David Richard)

David Richard

Cleveland Browns free safety Jabrill Peppers (22) makes an intereption against the Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Keith Srakocic/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

DB Damarious Randall in action against the New York Giants.

John H. Reid III/Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns defensive back Denzel Rice waits on the play during the first half of an NFL football preseason game against the Detroit Lions, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Paul Sancya/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Tavierre Thomas (34) during the first half of an preseason NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Rick Scuteri

Cleveland Browns defensive back Denzel Ward (21) watches in the first half of an NFL football preseason game against the Buffalo Bills, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)

David Richard/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Trevon Coley (93) plays against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Ron Schwane

Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Carl Davis celebrates tackle from the sidelines against the Chicago Bears in the first half at the Pro Football Hall of Fame NFL preseason game, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018, in Canton, Ohio. (AP Photo/David Richard)

David Richard/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) defends against Green Bay Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari (69) in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)

David Richard

Cleveland Browns defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah celebrates a missed field goal by the Tennessee Titans in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)

David Richard

Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi celebrates a sack in the first half of an NFL football preseason game against the Buffalo Bills, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Ron Schwane/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Brian Price (92) warms up prior to an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Ron Jenkins

Cleveland Browns defensive end Chris Smith walks to a drill during the team’s organized team activity at its NFL football training facility Tuesday, June 5, 2018, in Berea, Ohio. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Ron Schwane/AP 2018

Cleveland Browns defensive end Chad Thomas (92) walks off the field after an NFL football preseason game agains the Buffalo Bills, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, in Cleveland. Buffalo won 19-17. (AP Photo/David Richard)

David Richard/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Detroit Lions defensive end Anthony Zettel (69) lines up against the Cleveland Browns during an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Paul Sancya/Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

LB Genard Avery practices at the Browns’ facility in Berea.

John Reid/Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns outside linebacker James Burgess (52) rushes the passer during an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, in Cleveland. The Packers won 27-21 in overtime. (AP Photo/David Richard)

David Richard

Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Jamie Collins runs a drill during practice at the NFL football team’s JJ Watt Wisconsin Badgers Jersey  training camp facility, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, in Berea, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Tony Dejak/Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Los Angeles Chargers linebacker D’Juan Hines walks off the field after the team’s NFL football practice, Sunday, July 29, 2018, in Costa Mesa, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Jae C. Hong/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Christian Kirksey (58) lines up during an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Cleveland. Cincinnati won 31-7. (AP Photo/David Richard)

David Richard

Cleveland Browns middle linebacker Joe Schobert (53) drops back during an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, in Cleveland. The Titans won 12-9 in overtime. (AP Photo/David Richard)

David Richard

Buffalo Bills linebacker Tanner Vallejo in action during the first half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

Adrian Kraus/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Miami Dolphins kicker Greg Joseph (5) walks off the field at the NFL football team’s training camp, Monday, July 30, 2018, in Davie, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Lynne Sladky/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Cleveland Browns long snapper Charley Hughlett covers a punt against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Ron Schwane

Cleveland Browns punter Britton Colquitt (4) kicks against the Cincinnati Bengals in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Ron Schwane

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CB.com: What do you like about what this offense has been able to accomplish so far?

Johnson: I think people are making plays when it matters. We’re trying to get more guys to make more plays more often earlier than later. It’s about someone stepping up when we need them the most.

CB.com: How about the makeup of the backfield?

Johnson: The main thing we enjoy about the backfield is we push each other in practice and in the games. We all root for each other and want everyone to do well. We know what we all bring to the table. We all lean on each other and depend on each other and push each other to be the best we can be.

CB.com: You’ve been through some home games here where the seats aren’t exactly full. That’s changed this year. What have you thought of it?

Johnson: It’s awesome. It’s always been awesome, whether we’re losing or not. It’s a different feeling when you’re winning and you’re winning close games. You’re giving them something to cheer about.

CB.com: How much has Baker Mayfield changed the outlook of this offense?

Johnson: He’s making plays within the offense. He’s not trying to do too much. He’s just doing his job. The biggest thing is young guys like (Derrick) Willies step up like he did last week and keep having young guys like (Antonio) Callaway and Baker making more plays.

CB.com: What about his presence in the huddle?

Johnson: He’s a quarterback. He’s demanding in the huddle and he demands the respect. He’s very confident when he’s in the huddle.

CB.com: What have you seen from this Chargers defense?

Johnson: They have one of the better, if not the best, pass rushers/defensive players in the league in (Melvin) Ingram. I think just knowing where he’s at and the best way to slow him down, then we’ll be able to have a good game. Overall, their defense wants to be physical. They’re a physical defense and we know it’s a physical defense. They impose their will on a lot of teams, playing downhill, smash-mouth football. We never think it’s going to be a cake walk. We never think it’s going to be an easy game.

CB.com: It looks like you could be more involved in the passing game this week after the team lost Rashard Higgins. How do you expect it to affect your role?

Johnson: I’m not sure as of yet. I guess we’ll figure it out game time.

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