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Kirby Wilson sees big things on the horizon for RBs Isaiah Crowell, Duke Johnson

Posted Jun 19, 2017

Browns eager to see what comes of 'renewed' commitment to run game'

Browns coach Hue Jackson wants to get the team’s run game back on track.

Count running backs coach and run game coordinator Kirby Wilson as an avid supporter of that mission.

“It’s a commitment he and I have discussed several times,” he said Thursday, “and we want to do a better job of blocking, better job of running, better job of making good decisions and ball placement so it all plays a role in success or lack of success.”

Indeed, Jackson recently spoke about the need to re-establish a ground attack that went through a series of highs and lows last season.

“(We’ve) got to run the ball more. I will be the first to tell you that,” Jackson said.

“I beat myself up about that. I’m a coach that likes to run the ball. We all recognize where we were in games last year, and trying to play from behind is hard, and understanding what our team was last year, feeling that you had to get off to a fast start to get ahead of a team because you knew how some things would unfold.”

The Browns led the league after the first month of the season, averaging 149.3 yards per game. But that figure slipped to 60.5 yards as Cleveland struggled over the next eight weeks. In the final month, the Browns finished with 158 yards per outing.

Leading the way was fourth-year back Isaiah Crowell, who finished with 952 yards and seven touchdowns on 198 carries last season.

“He’s not even in his prime yet and he saw what happens when last year, you work extremely hard, good things happen for you,” Wilson said. “I think he enjoys that feeling of success and he’s hungry and eager and looking for even more this season.”

Wilson also offered praise for Duke Johnson Jr., who ran 73 times for 358 yards and caught 53 passes for 514 yards.

“He’s one of our better leaders and one of our better playmakers,” Wilson said. “So we expect big things from him.”

Wilson said the pair are poised to help put the run game back to where it needs to be.

“We’re excited, we want to see where we can take this with this renewed commitment to it,” Wilson said. “Let’s see what happens.”

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