BEREA, Ohio — Justin Gilbert isn’t taking anything for granted.
Despite being the eighth overall pick in May’s NFL Draft, Gilbert knows he is going to have to play well to win the starting job opposite of Joe Haden.
Buster Skrine is the incumbent and the coaches have praised his play thus far in the OTAs. Gilbert was asked what he thought of what he’s seen of Skrine.
"(Skrine’s) making plays every day and is holding down the job."
Besides drafting Gilbert, the Browns also drafted Pierre Desir in the fourth round and added Aaron Berry and Isaiah Trufant in free agency. Haden, Skrine, Leon McFadden and Jordan Poyer are holdovers from last year’s team expected to compete at cornerback.
"I love competition," Gilbert said. "That’s what makes my game better."
Gilbert, who sat out Tuesday’s OTA practice with what he called a "strain," said his transition to the NFL thus far has been good. Last week, Gilbert was kicked in the knee, but returned to practice last Friday and Monday.
"I’m picking up everything pretty good," Gilbert said. "It’s a little bit more than college, but this is my job.
"Instead of school work now, I’m doing this every day," he said. "I love doing this."
Gilbert said he’s made it a point to study how Haden plays and wants to duplicate his success.
"Watching Joe every day, what he does, his technique, everything motivates me."
Hoyer’s Status: Quarterback Brian Hoyer continues to participate in everything except full pass rush 11-on-11 team drills. Pettine sounds like he will be cautious with him for the mandatory minicamp next week.
"Either Friday or Monday (training staff and doctors) will decide," Pettine said. "We have been cautious and from the risk/reward, it might make sense (to keep it the same)."
After for next week’s three-day camp, the Browns will recess until the start of training camp in late July.
Johnny Bounces Back: Quarterback Johnny Manziel threw interceptions that were returned for touchdowns by safety Donte Whitner and later by cornerback Joe Haden. He also threw a pass that was intercepted by defensive back Robert Nelson on a pass intended for wide receiver Andrew Hawkins.
"It is better to learn lessons now than in September," Pettine said.
However, Manziel was able to bounce back and threw a very nice throwback pass to tight end Jordan Cameron after rolling out to the right. He also scrambled for a 15-20 yard run.
Pettine said the rollouts allowed Manziel to show a little bit what he can do, looking more what he did in college.
"It is a little difficult with the red shirt on, but you can see with designed rollouts what he can do when he gets in the open field."
Still No News: The Browns are still bracing for the news of a possible season-long suspension for WR Josh Gordon, who continues to practice.
Gordon was ticketed for speeding last weekend and a passenger had marijuana in Gordon’s car. Pettine was asked if the Browns would discipline Gordon for the most recent incident.
"It’s a club issue," Pettine said. "We’re not making any comments at this time."
Pettine said that Gordon continues to show up every day and practice hard.
Pettine was asked if he was getting anxious to get some clarity on Gordon’s status.
"I’ll be consistent," Pettine said. "Until we hear from the league, it is business as usual."
Donte’s Move: S Donte Whitner stepped in front of QB Johnny Manziel’s pass over the middle early in 11-on-11 drills and returned the interception for a touchdown.
The New Guy: DB Aaron Berry, who was just signed on Monday, practiced and was wearing No. 38.
"He’s a great competitor and that’s one of the reasons he’s here," Pettine said. "When he’s healthy, he is a get in your face cornerback."
Berry had some off-the-field issues in the past, but Pettine said he had no problems with him with the Jets.
"There were no issues (with Jets)," he said. "He showed up every day."
Trading Numbers: Wide receiver Travis Benjamin and WR Charles Johnson traded jersey numbers. Benjamin had worn No. 80 since joining the Browns but is now wearing No. 11. Meanwhile, Johnson is wearing No. 80. Both players are coming off of torn ACL injuries and are hopeful for training camp.
Back at it: After missing the previous OTA practices during the time the media was allowed to watch, defensive linemen Desmond Bryan and Ahtyba Rubin, linebacker Karlos Dansby and wide receiver Miles Austin were taking part in practice.
Joe Rests: Offensive lineman Joe Thomas participated in practice but didn’t take part in 11-on-11 team work. Thomas was held out of the same drills last week and was replaced by Martin Wallace at left tackle.
The Line: The offensive line that practiced with the first team at the beginning of 11-on-11 were: LT-Martin Wallace, LG-John Greco, C-Alex Mack, RG-Garrett Gilkey, RT-Mitchell Schwartz.
Gilbert Dinged: Top draft pick Gilbert rode the stationary bike and didn’t practice. He said he was kicked last week in the knee and returned to practice on Friday. He said he didn’t practice Tuesday because of a strain, but it wasn’t to his arms or legs. Second-round draft pick OL Joel Bitonio walked off the field with a trainer.
Pettine re-iterated that he anticipates all players to be ready for training camp.
"Currently, there are no injuries (to players) that will cause them to miss the start of training camp."
Bike Brigade: Several players were still spending their time on the stationary bikes including: WR Charles Johnson, WR Travis Benjamin, RB Isaiah Crowell, WR Taylor Gabriel, LB Tank Carder, CB Justin Gilbert, LB Brandon Magee, RB Jourdan Brooks, OL Chris Faulk and DL Billy Winn.
First Pitch: Top draft picks CB Justin Gilbert and QB Johnny Manziel are set to throw out the first pitch at the Indians/Red Sox game on Wednesday night at Progressive Field. The entire 2014 Browns draft class and undrafted free agents are scheduled to be at the game together.
Gilbert said he’s looking forward to it.
"I used to play baseball in my day," he said. "I played pitcher and center field."
Gilbert said he threw a 12/6 curveball and was thinking about throwing a curve ball at the Indians game.