BEREA, Ohio — Top pick Justin Gilbert is learning about the ups and downs of being an NFL cornerback. He is coming off a rough outing against the Rams and Mike Pettine is looking for him to bounce back this week in the final preseason game.
"He’s bounced back this week," Pettine said."He’s come out here with a good attitude. Hopefully, we’ll see a better performance this week. He got beat across his face and then knocked (the ball out). That was encouraging."
Gilbert tried to strip the ball from Rams receiver Chris Givens on a short pass, which turned into a 75-yard touchdown.
"I went for a strip, and I didn’t get it," Gilbert said. "I should have wrapped up and tackled him instead of trying to strip him."
Pettine knows that Gilbert will learn in the school of hard knocks of the NFL.
"The NFL is a tough road now for a rookie corner, and the only silver lining is that he did have a night like that heading into the regular season, that he sees that playing corner in the NFL is very much a ‘what have you done lately’ business and you’ve got to be prepared and focused every time you step on the field," Pettine said. "He needs to get some things cleaned up from a technique standpoint. I think there were a couple plays where he kind of got away from things that he had been doing well, that he needs to step it up and know that every time he takes the field that he has to be 100 percent focused."
Pettine said Gilbert is a fast learner.
"He knows it," Pettine said. "I don’t think it was anything that came as a surprise for him. I think it was a good lesson for him to learn that you have to be ready to go each week. Had a good week of practice and game against Redskins and took a step back."
"I didn’t make plays when I needed to," he said. "That’s pretty much it.
"I learned not to get down on myself and grow from it," he said. "There’s nothing I can do about it now. I’m just going to be a man about it and move on from here."
Pettine did say that he hopes Gilbert tests his limits more in the final preseason game.
"Early on, he needs to test his limits more," Pettine said. "He played off and that hurt us in third down, particularly long situations.
Cameron Out: TE Jordan Cameron was not on the practice field during the time open to the media. Pettine was asked the reason but he wouldn’t divulge it.
"He’s dealing with an issue," Pettine said. "He was excused."
Cameron missed time in training camp with a shoulder injury, but Petttine wouldn’t say if it was personal or medical. He indicated he might be back as soon as Tuesday.
"He was excused," he said. "I’m not going to go into anything (more)."
Burleson Back: WR Nate Burleson was back practicing for the first time since injuring his hamstring on Aug. 6.
Pettine was asked about Burleson.
"He went through some individual work today," he said. "I’m not sure how he came out of it."
Pettine was asked if Burleson is in danger of losing a roster spot after missing so much time.
"I can’t speak on whether guys have certain roster spots first of all, that’s not my area, but that’s Ray (Farmer’s)."
Pettine did admit that the missed time has hurt him.
"It does hurt your chances not being out there but we’ll look at the entire body of work."
Haden Sits Out: CB Joe Haden (foot) was on the stationary bike during practice. Pettine said he will be held out of the final preseason game with the Bears.
Pettine was asked if Haden was just being rested on the conference call after the game.
"It’s an injury," Pettine said on Sunday. "It’s something that gave him a little bit of trouble, so we did some further work and the recommendation was just go ahead and let him rest it the rest of the preseason. So, we’re going to go ahead and do that.
"If this was the regular season he would have been able to play, but we’re just going to go ahead and be very conservative here with it and hold him out because we are on a short week and hold him out against Chicago, as well. When we start practicing for Pittsburgh he should be 100 percent ready to go."
CB Pierre Desir (knee) and DB Isaiah Trufant (knee) were also on the bike during practice. Buster Skrine (thumb), DL Desmond Bryant (wrist) were not on the practice field during the open session.
Pettine said he is hoping the defensive backs will be back by the regular season, with the exception of one.
"We’re hopeful," he said. "Desir might be the only one out."
DB K’Wuan Williams returned to practice after sitting out Saturday’s game with a hamstring injury.
OL Michael Bowie (shoulder) LB Darius Eubanks (shoulder), LB Eric Martin (concussion) and NFI: OL Nick McDonald (wrist) did not practice.
Third Back Lewis: Pettine said that RB Dion Lewis had separated himself as the third running back, but the margin was not a "big separation".
"He has that short area quickness," Pettine said. "He proved he’ll stick his nose in there in pass protection."
Backs on the roster besides RB Ben Tate and RB Terrance West are RB Chris Ogbonnaya and rookie RB Isaiah Crowell.
Pettine Defends Schwartz: OT Mitchell Schwartz has taken his share of the blame in the preseason, but Pettine defended him when he was asked about his play.
"I thought Mitchell bounced back against St. Louis," Pettine said. "We feel good about that offensive line. He’s not a guy we’re looking to replace I thought he’s had a good camp and you look at right tackles around the league a lot of people would agree he’s solid."
Gordon Update: WR Josh Gordon was back at practice after not playing against the Rams. Pettine said on the conference call that part of the reason was because the Browns were assuming he would get some type of suspension. Pettine was asked if he had any information on Gordon.
"No, we kind of had a range of (the suspension would be)," he said. "Probably, (I) shouldn’t have spoke on it."
Armstrong, Baker Lead First Cuts: The Browns announced their first waive of roster moves on Monday. The biggest names were RB Edwin Baker and WR Anthony Armstrong, who had his contract terminated.
Besides Baker and Armstrong, the Browns also released DB Royce Adams, OL Randall Harris, DB T.J. Heath, DL Cam Henderson, WR Jonathan Krause, OL Ryan Lee, LB Caleb McSurdy, OL Keavon Milton, LB Keith Pough, WR Tim Smith, OL Jeremiah Warren and TE Martell Webb.
In the preseason, Baker had three carries for nine yards, but missed last week with a hamstring injury. Last season, Baker scored two touchdowns and rushed for 171 yards in the final three games. Armstrong had three catches for 17 yards.
"(Armstrong) was just a move that Ray and I felt was appropriate to let some of those young guys (get time)."
Next Up: The Browns will practice on Tuesday and then have a walkthrough closed to the media on Wednesday before taking on the Bears at 8 p.m. Thursday in the final preseason game at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Pettine said the plan is to play the starters on both sides of the ball the first quarter.