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Browns need John Johnson III to continue his hot start

Without one or both starting DEs, JJ3 is vital for the defense

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

As Sunday morning breaks open the slate of games early this Sunday with the game in London, fans of the Cleveland Browns wake with some concerns. DE Myles Garrett is out for the game, DE Jadeveon Clowney is questionable and their primary replacement DE Alex Wright struggled in Week 3. Cleveland will also be without DT Taven Bryan on their defensive line.

It might be helpful that the Atlanta Falcons could be without their top running back, Cordarrelle Patterson, who will be a game-time decision today.

A lot could ride on RB Nick Chubb who returns to his home state of Georgia to play a game for the first time since college but the defense will still need to make plays. With TE Kyle Pitts and WR Drake London providing large targets in the passing game and QB Marcus Mariota providing a dual threat, safety John Johnson III needs to keep his hot start to the 2022 season going.

According to Pro Football Focus, Johnson has been close to a shutdown defender:

While passer rating is a little more accurate in grading cornerbacks or linebackers than safeties, it is impressive that Johnson has been so solid in coverage. With the size of Pitts and London, Cleveland will need him to be active today while providing run support against Patterson (if he plays) and Mariota.

Johnson’s first year with the Browns was up and down but his start in 2022 has been excellent. With injuries piling up on that side of the ball, the team will need that hot start to continue in Atlanta today.