BEREA — Joe Schobert made the jump from walk-on to All-American at Wisconsin. He hasn’t stopped surprising people in the NFL, and includes himself on that list.
Schobert was voted first alternate to the AFC Pro Bowl team this week but said he doesn’t consider himself at the same level as the other all-stars.
“That is just like the next step,” he said Thursday. “Last year, I was running around and playing football and thinking, ‘Yeah, I belong in the NFL.’ You just don’t think you are the elite of the elite. Hopefully going into the Pro Bowl will be a similar experience and go in and recognize that ‘Yeah, I belong here.’”
Schobert, a middle linebacker, is tied for the league lead with 127 tackles, which impressed voters despite the Browns’ 0-14 record.
“It feels good. Obviously, it means I am doing something right and doing things the right way,” he said. “I have a lot to work on and a lot to improve at, but I think it means that I am on the right track.”
With Pittsburgh’s Ryan Shazier out with a serious back injury, Schobert is expected to play in the Pro Bowl for the first time in just his second season. He was a fourth-round pick in 2016.
“I have to stay healthy first this season, too, but I will be ready to go,” he said. “If I am healthy, I will look to play.”
Schobert believes he’s improved in recognition of play and formation but could get even better in that area. He played outside linebacker last year in a 3-4 scheme but made the shift inside when the Browns switched to a 4-3 system.
“I have been really impressed from where he has come from to where he is today,” coach Hue Jackson said. “That is a lot of hard work and dedication. He has changed his body. Obviously, he has made some consistent plays for us. That is what we expect from Joe.”
Running back Isaiah Crowell confirmed he was “upset” and felt “disrespected” after getting only five carries for 72 yards Sunday against the Ravens, like he told ESPN. He had a 59-yard run in the second quarter, then carried once in the second half for 3 yards.
“That is exactly what was the most frustrating because I felt like I could do more just to help the team win and help us really get over the hump and probably make a couple of more long runs that we could score some touchdowns,” he said. “But I’m just trying to focus on this week. Maybe this week it will be better.”
Crowell said he’s been disappointed in his role throughout the season, as he’s gotten fewer carries than expected. He has 179 carries — fewer than 13 a game — for 788 yards, a 4.4 average and two touchdowns.
Crowell said he believes Jackson makes the best decisions for the team but did talk to running backs coach/run game coordinator Kirby Wilson about his displeasure Sunday.
“He understood how I felt, but I feel like any running back would understand that if they were in that same situation,” Crowell said.
THE NEW BOSS
Receiver Josh Gordon said he hasn’t had a formal meeting with new general manager John Dorsey but has met him in passing.
“We talked a little bit, joked around,” Gordon said. “He’s a great guy, a real football-minded guy. He’s passionate about it. He knows football more than anything, which I love.
“He’s at every practice. I know he watches film and he studies us and he gives us a lot of advice and he’s real black and white about what we can get better on and keeping us in check. I’m sure I’ll talk to him and see what’s going on.”
The Browns are getting healthier at cornerback.
Starter Jamar Taylor (foot) returned to practice but was back in a walking boot afterward in the locker room. Nickelback Briean Boddy-Calhoun (knee) didn’t practice after being limited Wednesday, but Jackson said it wasn’t a setback.
The hope is both can play Sunday. Boddy-Calhoun missed the last two games, and Taylor didn’t play on defense against the Ravens.
** Quarterback DeShone Kizer (ribs) was added to the injury report but was a full participant.
** For the Bears, left guard Josh Sitton (ankle) didn’t practice for the second straight day.