Cleveland Browns: Players with the most to gain Thursday night
Justin Gilbert/Jamar Taylor
Justin Gilbert received starter-like treatment against Green Bay, as he only played the first two series’ of the game with the first-team and then had the rest of the night off. The decision to not extend his playing time seemed odd considering Gilbert is trying to prove his value to a new coaching staff.
Jamar Taylor saw a bulk of the reps last week and had an underwhelming Browns debut, suffering from a few missed tackles. However, this week however presents Gilbert and Taylor with a grand opportunity.
It was reported Tuesday night by many media sources that the Browns suspended nickel corner K’Waun Williams for conduct detrimental to the team. Ian Rapoport from NFL Network was one of the first to announce it.
The suspension means other cornerbacks will get the opportunity to step up and fill the void in the absence of a proven player like K’Waun. In Williams’ absence from the team, Jamar Taylor has been getting the first-team reps in the nickel corner role.
If Taylor turns in a productive game Thursday followed by the next two weeks of practice, he may win the job outright. It appears the new regime and Williams have butted heads and Williams may have already fallen out of favor with the new coaching staff.
The absence also presents an opportunity to Justin Gilbert. Gilbert will continue to receive work with the first-team and get his chance to shine, especially since Joe Haden isn’t expected to play Thursday night. Gilbert admitted that getting reps with the one’s has helped and has given him confidence.
“At the end of the day, we’re just out there trying to make plays, all on one mission and trying to win and help this team win games,” Gilbert said. “So far in the DB room, we’ve all been showing effort and improvement each week.”
He went on to say that he feels a positive difference in this years defensive staff and he enjoys playing for this staff.
“Oh, I love it. I love it. It kind of reminds me a little bit of the defense that I played at Oklahoma State, where we got to mix it up a little bit,” Gilbert said. “Hopefully, this will give us some opportunities to make some plays this year.”
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The new coaching staff is giving the former top-ten pick a clean slate to prove himself from past failures. It is now on Gilbert to make the most of it and strengthen the Browns’ secondary.