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Training Camp

Need to Know: Duke Johnson game for even more usage in passing attack

Duke Johnson is the epitome of a hybrid back. On Monday, he practiced footwork drills with the running backs and then proceeded to run routes with the wide receivers. That's just part of his arsenal.

So when Corey Coleman was traded to Buffalo on Sunday evening, some drew the conclusion Johnson's role as a pass catcher could increase. Johnson, one year removed from catching 74 passes for 693 yards, made it clear he wouldn't mind.

"I would rather play wideout," Johnson said. "I think that I enjoy wideout and have more fun playing wideout than I do playing running back."

Although Johnson won't be making a full transition to wideout — he doesn't go to receiver's meetings and coach Hue Jackson made it clear he considers Johnson to be a running back — he's been practicing more and more at the position. Without those meetings, he learns the position on the practice field and through repetitions. He's an unconventional receiver.

Johnson's receiving ability isn't in question; everyone knows what he can do out of the backfield. He was the third leading running back in receiving yards last season, trailing only Alvin Kamara (New Orleans) and Todd Gurley (Los Angeles Rams).

The coaches haven't discussed any changes to his role with him in the wake of Coleman's trade, but Johnson's ready regardless.

"We have not spoken about it," Johnson said. "I do not think that trade has anything to do with me. I guess that the organization wanted to go in a different direction. Now, the next guy has to step up, regardless of who that may be."

The Browns start the week on the practice fields leading into their first preseason game.

—Antonio Callaway has been turning heads since he was at Florida. Now, the rookie wide receiver has been hooking up for big catches from both Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield. Yes, the quarterbacks throw good balls to Callaway, but Callaway has caught the eye of one of the league's most feared pass catchers: Jarvis Landry.

"He continues to work hard," Landry said. "He has been bouncing around a little bit position to position, but at the same time, he has embraced it and he keeps working hard every day. That is all you can ask."

— Browns coach Hue Jackson insisted that the Corey Coleman trade isn't because of Callaway, but added that Callaway has been impressive. Even before the Coleman trade, Callaway had been earning time with the first team.

— After a season-ending knee injury last season, Jamie Collins is back on the practice field and aiming for a career season. Collins' role as a do-it-all linebacker is easy to spot. He drops back in coverage and makes plays, such as the interception of Baker Mayfield he had in the Browns' scrimmage Friday. But he's also a pass rusher, and he's trying to become a better one: "There is D-End and there is linebacker. We both rush, you know, so it is just a title. We are all rushing to get to the quarterback."

— The Browns have made two roster moves that made headlines in the last week. The first was Joel Bitonio's move to left tackle. The second was the Coleman trade. A reporter asked Jackson Monday if it speaks to the Browns' urgency to win this season.

"I think you can look at it that way," Jackson said. "That's the urgency, period. We want to win. Every decision we make as we go throughout this is about winning and trying to put the best football team on the field for our fans and for our organization."

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