Browns notes: Jabrill Peppers says they’ve earned opponents respect, but not Bengals

Linemen affected by Bob Wylie’s injury, Britton Colquitt talks Pro Bowl alternate universe

Daryl Ruiter
December 21, 2018 - 5:13 pm

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

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Berea, OH (92.3 The Fan) Browns safety Jabrill Peppers has noticed something this season: opponents aren’t nearly as talkative as they used to be.

“Last year we heard it all,” Peppers said. “They wouldn’t stop talking, but this year, when we talk, nobody wants to talk to us. Nobody wants to now that we kinda got this thing rolling. It’s kinda dope to see.”

Except the Cincinnati Bengals.

Peppers hasn’t forgotten the pregame exchange that took place in Cincinnati prior to the Browns’ 35-20 victory.

“That was probably the most disrespectful thing somebody said to us,” Peppers said. “That’s why I think we’re going to come out here with the same type of tenacity. Because stuff like that, that sticks with you. Like these guys really, really don’t respect us as an organization and as players. So that makes you want to go out there with that extra umph.”

Unlike prior to the first meeting the Browns have been all business this week leading up to Hue Jackson’s return to Cleveland on Sunday. The Browns fired Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley on Oct. 29 with the team 2-5-1. Jackson joined the Bengals coaching staff 2 weeks later and the Browns are 4-2 without him as head coach.

Despite having their playoff hopes all but eliminated last Sunday, the Browns hope to finish the season strong by winning at least 1, if not both, of their remaining games.

A victory over the Bengals would secure a winning record at home as well as a winning record within the division for the first tie since the North was formed in 2002.

“It’s just about respect,” Peppers said. “We don’t want to say we’re a force or anything like that but you’re going to respect us and if you don’t you still gotta put the ball down and play us. And if you don’t respect us and we beat you, then don’t say anything for how we talk.

“I’m not going to go out on a limb and say we’re this, we’re that but you gonna respect us just like we respect everybody.”

What about Bob – Offensive line coach Bob Wylie is one of the nicest people you’ll ever come across in life, let alone sport and his linemen are having a difficult time getting the images from Thursday’s practice when he broke his ankle out of their heads.

“I was directly behind him like maybe five steps behind and I seen it and it just messed up my whole practice,” left tackle Greg Robinson said. “I had to get it out of my head.”

Right guard Kevin Zeitler was close enough to hear it happen.

“I was just walking to the next drill and heard a loud pop and a scream,” Zeitler said. “It's very unfortunate. You never want to see that happen, especially players, coaches, you're with each other all the time. It's unfortunate, and we wish he heals up quickly. He's already joked with us. He wants to be on the side for the game already, but hopefully that happens.”

When Wylie went down players helped him onto the cart so he could be taken to the hospital where he underwent surgery.

“I’ve never seen a gruesome injury happen like that, ever. So it scared me,” right tackle Chris Hubbard said.

“When I looked back, it was just disfigured. I can’t even get the image out of my head. It’s hard to explain what it was, but it was just tough to see him go down like that.”

Wylie spoke with his linemen from his hospital bed Friday morning via conference call.

“He was in good spirits this morning, but it wasn’t like really joking time, but he was in good spirits, and you could tell it was bothering him that he wasn’t here,” left guard Joel Bitonio said. “We had our gift exchange scheduled for today, and he was sad he was going to miss that, but we postponed it, so we’ll figure that out.

“He’s seriously one of the best humans that I know. He gives back all the time. He cares about us as people and he does a good job coaching us as well. So it was tough to see him go down for sure.”

Alternate universe – Browns punter Britton Colquitt was named a second alternate for the Pro Bowl earlier this week, thanks in big part to fan voting that saw him win the most votes among punters in the AFC.

“To my knowledge I’ve never been an alternate,” Colquitt said Friday. “Sometimes the alternates are kind of hidden deep down in there and the only people that know are your team or somebody. So, yeah, it’s a great honor to be voted upon by the fans and then getting a nod from other players that you know and play against and coaches.

“I definitely credit a lot to the fans out there. And I think it goes without saying that the Browns have become America’s team and we already have a huge fan base and it just shows what when those fans get out there and support their guys what happens. So, thank you to all the Brownie fans out there.”

Colquitt is third in the NFL, but already set a Browns franchise record for punts inside the 20 this season with 32.

“Anytime you can break a record you take a lot of pride in that and I’m humbled that I’m even in a position to do that,” Colquitt said. “Anytime you can do something like that that’s a record for a well-known organization at this level, it’s just an honor. And if my name could be written on there, then that’s great. I don’t necessarily care about personal accolades and that’s not the legacy that I care about leaving, but it is an honor and it gives me pride.”

Injury report – Questionable: DT Larry Ogunjobi (biceps), SS Jabrill Peppers (neck), C JC Tretter (ankle), OL Austin Corbett (foot), CB Phillip Gaines (knee), LB Tanner Vallejo (hamstring)

Expected to play: TE David Njoku (knee/thigh), CB Denzel Ward (concussion), CB Justin Burris (shoulder), LB Jamie Collins (shoulder), CB Terrance Mitchell (wrist), LB Joe Schobert (knee), DB Tavierre Thomas (abdomen)