BEREA — Inside linebacker Karlos Dansby has never been voted to a Pro Bowl, and he didn’t make the NFL Network’s countdown of the top 100 players of 2013.
He has his own ranking system.
“I’m the best. I’m the best. I’m the best. I’m the best right now, by far,” he said Tuesday. “Until I leave the game, I’m the best. That’s how I look at it, that’s how I approach it and my numbers say the same.”
Dansby had 135 tackles, including 119 solo, 6.5 sacks, four interceptions, two touchdowns, 21 passes defensed, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery for Arizona last year. Despite the impressive numbers, he was beaten out for a spot on the NFC Pro Bowl roster by San Francisco’s NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis and Carolina’s Luke Kuechly.
“It’s a joke, I think it’s a joke,” Dansby said, also mentioning the top 100 list. “I just have to go out and earn my respect now. I’m going to go out and do it again this year.”
The Browns signed Dansby, 32, in free agency to a four-year, $24 million contract. He replaced D’Qwell Jackson, a captain who was released.
Dansby (6-foot-3, 251 pounds) is bigger than Jackson and has assumed his leadership role. Dansby’s started 144 games in 10 years — eight in two stints with Arizona and two years with Miami.
He has 1,090 tackles, 38 sacks, 15 interceptions, four touchdowns, 69 pass breakups and 16 forced fumbles. He’s the only active player with 30 sacks and 10 interceptions.
“I’ve got a chip on my shoulder, man, because I have been underrated for a long time,” Dansby said. “I haven’t had that recognition that I think I deserved. I’ve got to prove myself year in and year out. It ain’t about what I did last year, it’s about what I’m going to do this year.”
He sent a message to undrafted rookie running back Isaiah Crowell on Tuesday during a one-on-one pass protection drill. Dansby wouldn’t let Crowell get off the ground.
Receiver Josh Gordon practiced again and coach Mike Pettine said he’ll play Saturday in the preseason opener if there’s been no ruling on his appeal of an indefinite drug suspension.
“It’s been reported, I think, it’ll be a chunk of time,” Pettine said of the timetable for a decision from the league. “We just don’t know when. We don’t have an exact date.
“As frustrating as it is for Josh, I think he’s handled it well. He’s been practicing hard, giving good effort, finishing plays. If we don’t hear anything, then he’ll be out there Saturday.”
Gordon appeared to give up on a couple of routes early in camp, but receivers coach Mike McDaniel doesn’t think he’s been distracted.
“To his credit, he’s been very, very good about coming into work and making it about football,” McDaniel said. “In his mind, he wants to be as good as there is, so when you’re showing plays of other people at his position doing things that he hasn’t put in his game yet, he’s interested and very competitive to work on that.”
A RUSHER’S PERSPECTIVE
Outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard is a fan of rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel. He’s not a fan of running after him all day.
“You get tired fast,” Sheard said. “You have to have a great rotation. I can remember in the scrimmage having him out there on the edge a couple times. After about six plays I was done. I was done chasing him. I had nothing left in the tank.
“That’s the way he thrives. He’s an outside-the-pocket guy. He’s going to run around and create plays.”
Manziel was back with the second-team offense after spending Monday with the starters for the first time. Manziel had his best day of practice Tuesday, including two strings of completions. He looked decisive in his reads for the first time.
“That comes with it,” Pettine said. “That’s also understanding the play and then who he’s reading. Am I reading the weak safety? Am I reading the strong safety? Where am I looking to go with this ball?
“I think that’s true of any rookie quarterback, that most of the time you’re going to see they’re much slower. They have to anticipate. Where you see where (Brian) Hoyer’s ahead is his ability to throw a ball before a guy breaks open, but we certainly see Johnny making strides in that direction.”
NO RELIEF IN SIGHT
The players better get used to life in pads.
The team has been in full pads for seven straight practices, and Pettine said that isn’t about to change.
“We’ve talked about being in pads up through the second (preseason) game, and then we would evaluate it from there, kind of where we are health-wise,” he said. “But up until Game 2, if we’re allowed to be in pads, we’ll be in them.”
The Browns practice three more times this week and five times next week before the second preseason game in Washington on Monday, Aug. 18.
“It’s training camp, man, so it’s time to grind,” outside linebacker Paul Kruger said. “There’s a shape that comes with being in pads and hitting each other. You can’t just come out here and run on the field, you have to get hit, you have to be put in those situations. So I think the coaches are just trying to get us in that kind of football shape.”
The collective bargaining agreement limits the number of padded practices during the regular season.
The Browns released their first depth chart in advance of Saturday’s game at Detroit.
“I did it because I had to do it,” Pettine said. “It’s very loose in our minds. I wouldn’t put a lot of credence in that. It will be very fluid and there will likely be changes after every week.”
The notable listings on the first-team offense were: Hoyer at quarterback, John Greco at right guard (ahead of Garrett Gilkey) and Gordon and Miles Austin at receiver.
“We listed Brian (Hoyer) as the starter,” said Pettine, who didn’t officially name him the starter for the Lions game.
On defense, Billy Winn was listed as the starter at right end, but Phil Taylor took the first reps Tuesday. Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo were listed as the starters at outside linebacker with Sheard as a backup, but it’s really a three-man rotation.
“I look at it as a backup one — not really a two,” Sheard said. “If anybody goes down, I’m the next man in.”
Cornerback Buster Skrine remained ahead of first-round pick Justin Gilbert.
- Free safety Tashaun Gipson (knee) and nickelback Isaiah Trufant (knee) returned to practice.
- Tight ends Jordan Cameron (shoulder) and Jim Dray (shoulder), linebacker Tank Carder (foot) and offensive lineman Michael Bowie (shoulder), Randall Harris (knee), Reid Fragel (lower leg) and Nick McDonald (wrist) didn’t practice.
- Defensive back Darwin Cook was waived.
- Single-game tickets go on sale next Tuesday at 10 a.m. Fans can visit the team website or call (800) 745-3000.
- Hall of Famer Jim Brown watched practice.