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Jackson: Browns RBs 'as good as I've seen in a while'

Last season, as the offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals, Hue Jackson entered the year with the most highly touted running back duo in Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard.

While Hill on balance was a disappointment in his second season (3.6 yards per carry), Bernard compiled 1,202 total yards. By the end of the season, it was still one of the best one-two punches in the NFL.

Now in Cleveland, Jackson believes the Browns boast two running backs of similar quality in Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson.

"Those two guys are as good as I've seen in a while," Jackson said on WKRK-FM this week, via The Plain Dealer. "Their talent is extreme."

After not selecting a running back high in draft, the Browns will roll into the season with the two-headed Crowell-Johnson monster.

Crowell struggled with consistency last season, often getting nailed for losses on early downs, putting the offense in a hole.

However, Jackson sounds like he's willing to give the third-year back a chance to be the workhorse between the tackles.

"I've been getting so much mail or phones calls with people saying, 'Well, wait a minute, why don't you guys have a running back?' " he said. "I really think Isaiah Crowell is a really good running back. I think he's going to have a sensational season, I really do ...

"Obviously, Isaiah is very explosive," he said. "He's got quick feet, he's fast in the hole, he runs with good pad level."

While Crowell might get the first shot at carrying the load, we like Johnson to play a bigger role in the offense when it's all said and done.

Playing in one of the NFL's worst offenses last season, Johnson finished in the top-five in receptions and receiving yards among all running backs. The second-year rusher is more than just a satellite back, however, boasting shiftiness between the tackles and ability to fall forward when hit.

We'll let Jackson describe Johnson's best traits:

"Duke has suddenness and quickness and he can go catch the ball with anybody," Jackson said. "He does so many different things that gives your offense a boost."

Bernard's role increased in Jackson's offense as the season wore on -- expect the same with Johnson.

How the Browns' remade offensive line blocks for Jackson's favorite pair is a completely different -- and less optimistic -- conversation.

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