D'Ernest Johnson
RB CLE (9)
Sun 11/21/21 7:18 PM

Johnson recorded five carries for 26 yards in Sunday's 13-10 win over Detroit.
EDGE Analysis
Despite topping 150 total yards in Week 10, Johnson took a back seat in the game plan due to the return of Nick Chubb (illness). Johnson has now seen single-digit touches in every game that Chubb has been active. Johnson's role is likely to only diminish further once Kareem Hunt (calf) is able to return from injured reserve.

D'Ernest Johnson
RB CLE (9)
Fri 11/19/21 1:21 PM

Johnson is expected to move into the No. 2 role out of the Cleveland backfield Sunday against the Lions after Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski confirmed that Nick Chubb (illness) is good to go after practicing Friday in his return from the reserve/COVID-19 list, Zac Jackson of The Athletic reports.
EDGE Analysis
After Chubb was placed on the list Nov. 9 following a positive test of the virus, Johnson stepped in to pick up his second start of the season Week 10 against New England. Though the Browns weren't competitive in a 45-7 loss, Johnson was productive with his opportunities, carrying 19 times for 99 yards and catching seven passes for 58 yards on eight targets. While Johnson has been a revelation in both of his starts, a healthy Chubb remains the Browns' unquestioned lead back, though Cleveland could be inclined to ease him back from a one-game absence with a slightly lighter workload than normal against an inferior Lions team. If that's the case, Johnson could still have some value this week as a low-end flex play in deeper leagues while Kareem Hunt (calf) remains on injured reserve.

D'Ernest Johnson
RB CLE (9)
Sun 11/14/21 4:28 PM

Johnson ran for 99 yards on 19 carries while catching seven passes for 58 yards on eight targets against New England on Sunday.
EDGE Analysis
The Browns weren't very threatening in the 45-7 loss and the point gap might have led New England to play less aggressively on defense, but this is still an impressive showing for the undrafted Johnson, who has thrived in both of his spot starts this year. Johnson is expected to head back to a reserve role against the Lions in Week 11, but by now he's given convincing reason to believe he'll play well whenever he gets an extended opportunity.

D'Ernest Johnson
RB CLE (9)
Fri 11/12/21 2:55 PM

Johnson is expected to be the Browns' No. 1 running back Sunday at New England with Nick Chubb (illness), Demetric Felton (illness) and John Kelly (illness) all on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
EDGE Analysis
Coach Kevin Stefanski noted the trio of Chubb, Felton and Kelly will be unable to clear COVID-19 protocols in time to be available for Sunday's 1:00 p.m. ET kickoff, leaving Johnson as the sole healthy running back on the active roster. On top of that, Kareem Hunt (calf) isn't ready to return from injured reserve, so Johnson likely will have to contend with only elevated options from the practice squad such as Brian Hill and Dexter Williams. When Johnson served as Cleveland's lead runner Week 7, he churned out 168 yards from scrimmage and one TD on 24 touches.

D'Ernest Johnson
RB CLE (9)
Wed 11/10/21 3:12 PM

Johnson will make another start in the event teammate Nick Chubb (illness) isn't reinstated from the reserve/COVID-19 list before Sunday's game in New England, Scott Petrak of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram reports.
EDGE Analysis
Johnson's previous start, Week 7 against Denver, yielded 22 carries for 146 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 22 yards on 69 percent snap share, while backups Demetric Felton and John Kelly combined for just four carries and three targets. A full repeat is a lot to ask in New England, but it is a safe guess that Johnson will have a busy afternoon if Chubb doesn't end up playing. In order to suit up, Chubb needs to return negative tests on back-to-back days, after initially testing positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday morning.

D'Ernest Johnson
RB CLE (9)
Sun 11/7/21 9:57 PM

Johnson had eight carries for 16 yards in Sunday's 41-16 win over the Bengals.
EDGE Analysis
Nick Chubb had the bulk of the carries early before Johnson took over as Cleveland pulled away. It was the first time in three weeks that Johnson did not score a touchdown. He continues to fill the backup role while Kareem Hunt (calf) is sidelined on injured reserve. Hunt's three-week minimum stay on IR ended Sunday, but the Browns feel he'll need at least one more week before he's ready to play.

D'Ernest Johnson
RB CLE (9)
Sun 10/31/21 5:47 PM

Johnson carried the ball four times for 22 yards and a touchdown and caught one of three targets for seven yards in Sunday's 15-10 loss to the Steelers.
EDGE Analysis
While Nick Chubb dominated the backfield touches in his return to action, Johnson was the only Brown to get into the end zone on a 10-yard dash in the third quarter. Kareem Hunt (calf) isn't expected to be back any time soon, so Johnson should continue to have a role for Cleveland in Week 9 against the Bengals.

D'Ernest Johnson
RB CLE (9)
Tue 10/26/21 8:35 AM

With Nick Chubb (calf) returning to practice Monday, as reported by Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, Johnson may not be the lead back Week 8 against the Steelers.
EDGE Analysis
Cleveland head coach Kevin Stefanski was hopeful last week that Chubb could return for the Pittsburgh game, and the coach sounded more confident Monday. "He's gotten a lot of work done this last couple weeks. He's feeling good. He's continuing to get rehab, and I think he's excited to get back out there. We'll see how it goes over the next couple days and see if he can," Stefanski said. To be clear, Ulrich reports Chubb's return to practice but did not speculate on the impact of a potential return would have on Johnson's playing time. Logically, if Chubb is ready to play, then Johnson's role will be diminished.

D'Ernest Johnson
RB CLE (9)
Thu 10/21/21 11:32 PM

Johnson rushed 22 times for 146 yards and a touchdown and brought in both targets for 22 yards in the Browns' 17-14 win over the Broncos on Thursday night.
EDGE Analysis
Johnson stole the show in his start in place of Nick Chubb (hamstring) and Kareem Hunt (IR-hamstring), repeatedly gashing the tough Broncos front seven for sizable gains on the ground. The third-year pro, who'd flashed occasionally during his time with the Orlando Apollos of the AAF back in the spring of 2019 but had seen very modest opportunities since joining the Browns later that same year, averaged a robust 6.6 yards per carry and notched his first career NFL touchdown on a four-yard run to cap off a five-play, 75-yard opening drive. Johnson could still see a solid workload as Chubb's main backup if the latter is ready to suit up for a Week 8 home AFC North showdown against the Steelers a week from Sunday.

D'Ernest Johnson
RB CLE (9)
Tue 10/19/21 2:25 PM

Johnson is slated for his first career start Thursday versus the Broncos after Nick Chubb (calf) was ruled out and Kareem Hunt (calf) went on IR, Jake Trotter of ESPN.com reports.
EDGE Analysis
Since joining the Browns in May 2019 after a stint with Orlando in the AAF, Johnson has been active for all 40 of the team's games, including postseason. Overall, his 40 rushes have gone off at a clip just shy of 5.0 YPC, and he's also hauled in 10 of 12 targets for 92 yards. Cleveland has a decision to make with Baker Mayfield and his left non-throwing shoulder for Week 7, but even if he plays the team could opt to be more more ground-based to keep pressure off the fourth-year quarterback. In any case, Johnson seems poised to be the Browns' runner on early downs, Demetric Felton likely will be the change-of-pace option, and John Kelly sits at third on the RB depth chart as long as Chubb and Hunt are sidelined.