|The Browns' Josh Cribbs is the top special teams vote-getter for the Pro Bowl. (US Presswire)|
There was an exception after the 38-21 loss to Washington on Sunday. Cribbs bolted from the locker room and declined to answer questions. He was too upset. So if media members wanted his view of the defeat, they had to wait.
It was worth the wait. Cribbs was talking up a storm Thursday.
"I was real disappointed," he said about losing to the Redskins. "I had high hopes, high expectations. Maybe I was overconfident in our ability. We're still overcoming things. It was very disappointing how we played. I felt we were the better team. We played against the Redskins, but we were our own worst enemies. We still have to overcome ourselves."
Cribbs is finishing the last season of his three-year contract and could be playing his last two games in a Browns uniform, although he might represent the team in one more game. It was announced Thursday that he was the leading vote-getter from the fans as a special teams player. Cribbs earned Pro Bowl spots in 2007 and 2009.
He is no longer the touchdown threat he was earlier in his career as a returner. He hasn't scored on a kickoff return since 2009 and has just one punt return for a score since 2010. But he remains one of the premier all-around special teams players for his consistently strong returns and his play in the coverage units. Cribbs is thankful that the fans recognize that.
"I love their support," he said. "They know how hard I've worked. It's nice it hasn't gone unnoticed, especially in a blue-collar town like this. Just to be [voted] as the top anything in the NFL is a good thing."
|The home of the Super Bowl|
Losing sleep over Manning: CB Sheldon Brown sees a fitful night sleep for himself Saturday night. He has played against future Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning in the past.
"You don't sleep well the night before," Brown said.
It can be presumed, then, that Brown will be tossing and turning as he worries about Manning slinging passes all over the field Sunday in Denver. Brown knows that Manning has elevated the play of Broncos receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, who have combined to catch 145 passes for 2,133 yards and 17 touchdowns.
"Manning throws the ball only where his receivers can catch it," Brown said. "You got to make sure you make the tackles so you can live to see another down. He throws the ball before the receiver comes out of the break. He doesn't give the defensive back much time to break on it."
Brown also praised Manning for what he brings to the team off the field.
"I spoke to [former Browns S Mike Adams, now a Denver starter] and he talked about the aura of Peyton Manning in that locker room and how his leadership is second to none," Brown said.
The challenge of facing Manning, his explosive offense and a top-notch defense could prove overwhelming to a young Browns team that lost its mojo and any chance at the playoffs last week. But Brown understands that players must continue competing for their own futures in the league.
"I feel that we have a lot of guys who are going to be free after this season," Brown said. "There are a lot of other coaches and organizations and you want them to know what you can bring to the table."
Tough test: It seems that Browns RT Mitchell Schwartz rarely catches a break. The rookie has been thrown into the fire against some of the premier pass rushers in the NFL. But he has not faced anyone this season as dangerous as Broncos OLB/DE Von Miller.
Miller ranks third in the NFL with 16 sacks.
"There have been a lot of good guys, but he's one of the best sack-wise," Schwartz said. "He's probably the best pure athlete I've faced in terms of speed and athleticism."
Offensive coordinator Brad Childress spoke about doing whatever possible to keep Miller from getting to QB Brandon Weeden, including chipping, double-teaming or sliding the protection.
"It's always nice to get an extra shot at him," Schwartz said. "The more you can take the starch out of [Miller] the better."
Going against the Champ: Browns leading receiver Josh Gordon is not worried about going solo against Broncos veteran CB Champ Bailey from a physical standpoint. But he understands that he's not going to fool Bailey between the lines.
"It's a good test, but I wouldn't say it's the ultimate test," Gordon said. "He's a smart player, and you have to respect his football IQ. He's no more of a physical challenge than guys I always see. It's more of a mental IQ deal. He's still quick, but what's benefiting him most now is his experience and knowledge of the game."
Tayshaun a prince to Jauron: Defensive coordinator Dick Jauron praised new starting FS Tashaun Gipson, who arrived in camp and quickly separated himself from the other rookie undrafted free agents
"He's made tremendous progress," Jauron said. "The first time you see him on the field, you recognize that he's got athletic skills. Then you wonder why he wasn't drafted. There's got to be something that's missing, but we never found it.
"He prepares well, he works hard. He's been tough on the field. He's tackled well. He moves well. We think we found one. Our personnel department did a terrific job."
Gipson had his first career interception two weeks ago in the 30-7 win over Kansas City.
Stay dialed in on the Cleveland Browns on Twitter at @CBSBrowns throughout the season with on-site updates from CBSSports.com RapidReports correspondent Marty Gitlin.