Duke Johnson isn't sure of the exact number, but the Browns running back and Miami native figures to see a whole bunch of friends and family in South Florida for Sunday's game against the Dolphins.
"I don't know who's coming but I know it's going to be a group," he said. "I'll probably have my own little fan section with a 'Go Duke' sign." [
Johnson, the second-year player and former Miami Hurricanes star, returns to South Florida for his first game at Hard Rock Stadium and something of a homecoming. Asked of his expectations for Sunday, he smiled.
"Hot. Very hot," Johnson said. "We were out here trying to get ready for the heat and trying to just do things mentally to get yourself ready but I'm like you can't. Just hydrate. You can't get ready for that heat."
Indeed, as temperatures start to cool and the leaves start to change across Northeast Ohio, it's still hot and humid in Miami. Johnson said the Browns are getting "mentally ready" for the elements.
"We know we're going somewhere hot," he said. "So it's just make sure you hydrate, hydrate, hydrate to get ready so you can stay away from the cramping and stuff like that."
From one rookie to another
After a breakout performance last weekend, Corey Coleman is poised to build on a five-catch, 104-yard outing against the Ravens in which he hauled in two touchdown passes and flashed the dynamic playmaking ability he displayed in training camp.
The game is "slowing down for me a little bit, just really putting in extra time with the playbook and knowing my assignments is helping me a lot, too," Coleman said, adding he was thankful for quarterback Josh McCown's trust throughout the afternoon.
Now, Coleman is putting his trust fellow rookie Cody Kessler, who will make his first NFL start Sunday.
"It's going to be tough but we've got the right guy for it. He's going to do just fine, get the job done. He's a smart guy. He's a competitor, too," Coleman said.
"I came with Cody, so in rookie minicamp it was just Cody and all the rookies, of course, but he's a great quarterback. I've got a lot of confidence in him."
Cameron Erving 'happy to be back'
After a few scary moments that saw Cameron Erving leave Sunday's game in an ambulance, the second-year center returned to the locker room Wednesday in good spirits.
"I'm feeling better. Just happy to be back in the building today," said Erving, who suffered a pulmonary contusion (bruised lung) against the Ravens. "It was a crazy experience. Like I said, I'm just happy to be back in the building today and looking forward to this next week."
Erving said he's unsure of how much time he'll miss as he recovers from this weekend, but he's following the guidance of the training staff.
"I'm just listening to (head athletic trainer) Joe (Sheehan) and the rest of the trainers and just going about my business the same as usual, still preparing as if I'm playing," he said. "I'm just happy to be here."
Facing a Miami defensive line that includes Ndamukong Suh, Cameron Wake and Mario Williams and their combined 12 Pro Bowl appearances, the Browns will have their work cut out for them when it comes to giving Kessler time to throw.
"Miami's front is really good. They spent a lot of money up front, obviously, on their defensive line and those guys," left tackle Joe Thomas said. "They put them in situations to make plays – they are not gap eaters like some defensive lines. They are up the field, try to wreak havoc, and it is going to be a great challenge for us."
Johnson echoed a similar sentiment, saying there's an added emphasis on pass blocking in the running backs room.
"I think the emphasis will be on making sure that we protect and help our quarterback but make sure we protect him first," he said.
From the other side
Dolphins coach Adam Gase is well aware of what the Browns offense did to the Ravens in last week's first quarter and, in particular, pointed to Cleveland's run game and pass catchers.
"The running game has really been impressive. There's explosiveness there at the wide receiver position that you have to contend with. Obviously, they have a tight end that has been hard to deal with – especially in past years – and absolutely a viability," Gase said on a teleconference.
"If we let these guys get behind us and have explosive plays, it's tough to compete with. When you can shorten up drives and push the ball down the field and chunk play it and figure out a way to get over the top and get into the end zone, it's frustrating for the defense."
Suh, who enters his second season with the Dolphins and is the anchor of the Miami defensive line, said Johnson and Isaiah Crowell "run very hard and are downhill runners, something that we are definitely going to have to focus on and stop in the run game, as we want to do each and every game.
"The offensive line is having a little trouble with injuries right now, but obviously they have Hall of Famers on that roster right now, as well as some guys that have gotten the job done for them in years past," Suh said. "At the end of the day, we have to go out there and shut down the run and put it in the quarterback's hands to beat us."