Lions' Kerryon Johnson looking to build off rookie year

Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson didn't meet one of his goals in 2018.

After a good start to this rookie campaign, Johnson wanted to finish the season strong. A knee injury, however, landed him on injured reserve and he appeared in just 10 games with seven starts on the season.

But with an offseason where he had the ability to focus solely on football and not pre-draft drills, Johnson hopes to change everything in his second year.

"Last year I didn't get this time," Johnson said Thursday, via the Lions' official website. "Last year, you're preparing for the [NFL Scouting] Combine and all that. You don't really get a chance to get better at football and really get that much stronger and really work on your specific skills.

"I got a full three and a half months or whatever it (was) and I think that time that I've put in and the work I've put in, hopefully will pay off this season."

There's plenty to like about Johnson's chances in 2019 when considering what he accomplished the past season.

He started out as part of a committee in the Lions' backfield, but quickly emerged as the go-to running back. Johnson totaled 641 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 118 carries, averaging 5.4 yards per attempt, and produced two 100-yard efforts. He also showed his versatility out of the backfield by producing 213 yards receiving and a touchdown on 32 catches.

But perhaps the biggest reason for optimism surrounds the arrival of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who is known for relying on the ground game.

And Johnson fully embraces whatever role Bevell has in mind for him.

"We all know what he likes to do," Johnson said. "We know what he brings to the table. Obviously, that's the good news for me, but we're a complete team. We're trying to be a complete offense. We're trying to be complete players."

Whatever is in store for Johnson in the upcoming season, he appears highly motivated to remain healthy and be on the field to contribute to the team's success.

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