ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Kerryon Johnson missed the last six games of his rookie season with a knee injury, but now, months removed and with the Detroit Lions offseason workouts underway, he said Thursday that he's fully back to his old self.
"Yep," Johnson said. "Ready to go."
Johnson said his goal this season -- as it is every year -- is to play in every game, and he figures if he does that, "the rest will take care of itself."
Last season, he had 118 carries for 641 yards and 3 touchdowns, and in a Week 3 game against New England, he broke a more than four-year-long stretch without a 100-yard rusher in a game. He also caught 32 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown.
He knows he can't rest on that, either. He needs to be better. He's paid attention to that in his second year, knowing that consistency is a big thing for him -- and the Lions -- in 2019.
"It's a different year. You can't stay the same. People in this league are too good," Johnson said. "Nobody is sitting around staying the same. We have a lot of tough defenses in our division alone and got a lot of tough defenses on our schedule, so I just have to focus on getting stronger, getting better, making sharper cuts, being a smarter player and, you know, when it comes to the season, we'll see how I line up."
Johnson is also heading into a new offense in his second year in the NFL, transitioning from his old offensive coordinator, Jim Bob Cooter, to Darrell Bevell. He also knows that could mean more work for him because Bevell -- and head coach Matt Patricia -- want to have a run-heavy offense. Johnson saw what Bevell did in Seattle with Marshawn Lynch, so he knows what he could potentially expect since he's Detroit's returning leading rusher.
Johnson said he's OK with "however they want to use me" within the offense. He said he prepares every game like "I'm getting 30 carries" -- something he took from his Auburn days -- but knows that isn't realistic, "unless you're Ezekiel Elliott." But it's how he prepares. So if he gets 8 to 12 carries, he's ready for the next week faster.
One thing he won't have to worry about this year is the reality of being a rookie in the NFL, from having a different offseason schedule to the pacing of a season to the wear-and-tear on your body.
Last year, he said the "rookie wall" hit him in "like fall camp, bro."
"Hit that thing going through preseason games," Johnson said. "I'm like, 'Aww, we ain't even started yet.' It's long. It's long, but at the same time, it went by fast. You're having a lot of fun. I get to come to work in sweatpants and shirts. I get to go out and play a game that I've been playing since I've been 5 years old.
"I get to go home, and I get to come back and do it all again. I don't have to sit in a cubicle. I don't got to do no spreadsheets, no nothing. I like to have fun with this, and it's long, like I said before, but you chop it into itty-bitty pieces. Hey, five weeks here, five weeks here, four weeks here and progress that way, and before you know it, you're in the offseason and like, dang, Year 2 is starting."