Browns' Joe Schobert 'one of best' LBs 'right now'

Print
  • By Grant Gordon NFL.com
More Columns >

As bedlam broke out in the waning seconds of the first meeting between the Browns and Steelers this season, it overshadowed not just a Cleveland victory, but a sensational night from linebacker Joe Schobert.

Just a week later, as Cleveland won again, huge days were had by Baker Mayfield and Jarvis Landry.

All the while, the quiet storm that is Schobert raged on, putting together outstanding back-to-back outings during a stellar campaign that's just suddenly developing a groundswell of notoriety that's so richly beckoned.

"Joe is playing at a high level," Browns defensive coordinator Steve Wilks said Friday, via team transcript. "Probably one of the best linebackers in the league right now in how he is performing. He is a leader for us. He commands the defense out there, getting everybody aligned and things that we ask of him. I am excited about his performance thus far this year, and hopefully, he can keep it going."

In the Browns' 21-7 win over the Steelers on Nov. 14 that's remembered for unfortunate reasons, Schobert was simply phenomenal. Along with a game-high 10 tackles, Schobert notched two interceptions, four passes defended, two tackles for loss, two quarterback hits and a sack as he filled up the stat line.

An encore came in the Browns' win over the Dolphins in which Schobert turned in four tackles, four passes defended and two interceptions -- becoming just the fourth linebacker in the Super Bowl era to tally multiple picks in back-to-back contests. With that outing, Schobert was voted AFC Defensive Player of the Week for the first time.

"It was cool," Schobert said of the honor. "I did not really think [about it] much. I think it was cooler for my family members or people who support me. In the grand scheme of things, I do not know -- it is cool to get recognition, but it is just a weekly award."

Schobert's statistical line for the season showcases a little bit of everything. Far and away tops on the team, Schobert boasts 96 tackles to go along with six tackles for loss, nine passes defended, four quarterback hits, four interceptions, two sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

In the midst of a tumultuous Browns season that's likely at its high point so far, Schobert has been a constant standout and the only Cleveland defensive player to start every game.

By all accounts, he should be headed to the second Pro Bowl of his career.

"I think I am just going to do my job, and like I said, if I do the right things, if I do what I am told to do and full confidence in my abilities, I am going to end up where I want to be at the end of the year," said Schobert, who had a season-high 16 tackles in a Week 4 win over the Ravens. "I think it is definitely having a good season, and we will see where that leads."

On a team with big names and big personalities, Schobert doesn't command the spotlight.

Tackles and excellent defensive play are in abundance with Schobert, not sound bytes.

As eyes will be drawn to the Browns-Steelers rematch, interest certainly won't be surrounding Schobert despite the outstanding game he had when the teams clashed two weeks ago.

That's just the way things seem to be going for the quiet storm in the middle of the Browns defense.

"Joe has that consistency every day in practice," Wilks said. "He is smart, he understands, he studies film and he has great anticipation in exactly what is coming. We always talk about the formation is talking to you, and you have to listen with your eyes. He does some great things in regards to that pre-snap/post-snap play, and he puts himself in position to make plays."

Print