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Duke Johnson excited by how he can boost new-look Browns offense

Duke Johnson didn't expect to catch as many passes as he did during his rookie season.

Just don't mistake the surprise for complacency.

While his 61 catches in 2015 were one of the most impressive numbers to emerge from an otherwise disappointing season for the Browns, Johnson spent his offseason focused on what he can to do better to maximize those opportunities in the open field.

"The ones I made I was happy about but I know I left a lot out there I could have made," Johnson said Wednesday on Cleveland Browns Daily. "Just making every play because you might not get a lot of opportunities to make them count."

Johnson finished his rookie season with 165 touches through the air and on the ground. He averaged 5.53 yards on them with the majority coming on passes, as Johnson established himself as a nice change-of-pace option out of the backfield to Isaiah Crowell, who is a more traditional running back. Often, and especially when the Browns were shorthanded at wide receiver, Johnson lined up as a traditional wide receiver, and his first NFL touchdown at San Diego came out of that spot.

For Johnson, it was all about mismatches. Sometimes, he exploited them better than others. In Year 2, he wants to give the Browns a more consistent bang for their buck.

"Just coming out of the backfield and creating mismatches anyway I can," Johnson said. "My whole role was when I was coming out of college and being drafted was creating mismatches out of the backfield and at wide receiver. I think we're going to do more things like that.

"Time will take care of itself. I'm just trying to come and take what's there, take what the defense gives me. I should be fine."

Johnson's anticipation for 2016 grew even more as he dug deep into what the Bengals offense under new Browns coach Hue Jackson did with its pair of running backs.

Giovani Bernard, whose skill set is similar to Johnson's, accumulated more than 1,100 yards of offense as a runner and receiver, and even took on the lion's share of carries against certain teams when the matchup wasn't ideal for lead back Jeremy Hill. Asked about the offensive approach under Jackson, Johnson smiled and called it "ridiculous" in the best of ways.

"Especially watching them as a rookie and seeing what he was able to do with both backs, tight ends and the offense in general, making it go, I was very impressed," Johnson said. "Now he's here, I'm very excited to see what we can go out and do."

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