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Mike Pettine: Justin Gilbert “trending in right direction”

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 5: Justin Gilbert #21 of the Cleveland Browns breaks up a pass intended for Marvin Jones #82 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the second quarter at Paul Brown Stadium on November 5, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images)

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The Browns had a pair of first-round picks who disappointed as rookies in 2014.

Quarterback Johnny Manziel has had his ups and downs off the field again in 2015, but his play on the field has shown improvement over his limited appearances last year. Cornerback Justin Gilbert hasn’t had the same experience. Gilbert has dealt with injuries, including a concussion that has kept him out the last three weeks, and has played just 50 snaps on defense all season.

Given that limited body of work, it wouldn’t seem the Browns have liked too much of what they’ve seen from Gilbert when he’s healthy, but coach Mike Pettine says he thinks Gilbert has made a move toward better results in the future.

“He did, and there was progress there, but he’d be the first to tell you it wasn’t enough,” Pettine said, via “At least he’s still trending in the right direction. The injury stuff was a setback, but we’re all hopeful that he can use what momentum he has from this season.”

It’s not clear whether Pettine will be the one in charge of the Browns when they start preparing for next season, but the need for Gilbert to make a demonstrable impact on the field is going to exist with any head coach after two forgettable years to start his career.