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Browns' Pettine on Gilbert: 'I definitely see changes'

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Johnny Manziel garners all the attention, but the Browns quarterback isn't the only player in Cleveland trying to wipe away the memory of an ugly rookie season.

Cornerback Justin Gilbert has impressed his coaches and teammates this spring following an ugly first-year campaign that saw teammates and even Browns owner Jimmy Haslam call him out for a lack of maturity.

"I definitely see changes, but I think you said it -- probably too early," coach Mike Pettine told reporters Tuesday, when asked if Gilbert has turned the corner. "It's just all about consistency. Just coming in here, perfecting his craft every day, and right now, it's so far, so good."

Pettine says Gilbert, last year's eighth overall pick, has shown greater "attention to detail, just kind of getting himself into the material."

Gilbert spent the first part of the offseason working with Browns Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden, who sees growth in his teammate, "definitely in his work ethic."

"He's comfortable. You could tell. He's just making plays," Haden said, per the Akron Beacon Journal. "... When he came (to Florida) and worked out with me, we just had conversations, and he said that he had a lot to prove. He's been coming out here, doing all the right things, taking coaching, and he's just making plays out there, and I'm so happy for him."

After playing 60 downs in Week 1 against the Steelers, Gilbert failed to match that one-game snap count again. By season's end, undrafted K'Waun Williams was seen as the more reliable player, despite flashes of unusual athleticism from Gilbert.

After the Browns signed veteran Tramon Williams to start across from Haden, Williams and Gilbert will battle for subpackage work. The team also likes Pierre Desir and used a pair of late-round draft picks on corners Charles Gaines and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. It's a crowded house, meaning nothing will be handed to Gilbert in Cleveland.

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