Posts critical of Gilbert’s effort flooded over Twitter during the practice -- including from Mary Kay Cabot of the Northeast Ohio Media Group, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, Darryl Ruiter of 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland, and Scott Petrak of the Elyria Chronicle.
Even Bills reporter Joe Buscaglia of WKBW in Buffalo chimed in. (Note: I’m not in the Rochester area; Bills writer Mike Rodak is present for ESPN).
Gilbert entered camp off a rookie season filled with turmoil. In one training camp interview, he was asked if he still wanted to start and said: "We’ll see what happens."
In practices he’s done little to stand out -- even with cornerbacks ahead of him sidelined with injury.
In the first preseason game, he was beat on several plays, one a dropped catch away from being an easy touchdown.
After the game, Gilbert said that aside from that one play his technique was "flawless."
Coach Mike Pettine said Gilbert made that statement before he had seen the film.
When the Browns lined up against the Bills, the Browns were without four cornerbacks: Joe Haden, K'Waun Williams, Robert Nelson and Pierre Desir -- all with hamstring issues except Williams (abdominal).
That gave Gilbert a ton of reps -- and a chance to make his case.
It does not appear he took advantage.
Rodak reported that Glbert was victimized by Matt Cassel on a deep touchdown throw down the left sideline to undrafted rookie Andre Davis, and for a touchdown throw from Cassell to Robert Woods during red-zone work. The Bills added another touchdown against Gilbert.
"If he’s in a little bit of a slump it’s on him,” Pettine said. “We have to help him, but he has to play his way out of it."
Veteran cornerback Tramon Williams stood by Gilbert.
"At this positon, you always want to get as many reps as you can," Williams said in a transcript distributed by the team. "It is good for him to go through some of those trials right now. He will be better, no doubt about it. Trust me, he’ll be good."
The Browns are so thin at cornerback they signed eight-year veteran Aaron Ross. He has played for two Giants Super Bowl teams, but missed last season in Baltimore because of an Achilles tendon injury.
Signing a veteran at this point of camp shows some level of concern (the team also added a veteran linebacker in Everette Brown), though Pettine attributed the signings to injuries.
The Browns would love to see Gilbert live up to his draft status. No team likes to give up on a first-round pick, much less the eighth overall choice.
Gilbert has a golden opportunity staring him in the face.
He has done very little to take advantage of the opportunity.