BEREA: Browns nose tackle Danny Shelton revealed Wednesday he’s had to make mental adjustments unrelated to the playbook during what he describes as “a tough rookie season so far.”
Shelton, the 12th overall draft pick, explained he allowed criticism from fans to rattle him.
“You can’t let outside noises get to you,” Shelton said after practice. “That is what my problem was in the beginning of the season.
“[I was] letting the outside noises get to me. ... As a rookie, I didn’t really think it would be a problem for me. So I just worked through that.”
Shelton conceded his main problem was allowing trash talk on social media to bother him.
“Being up to date with tweets and Instagram, you have no choice but to see those comments,” he said.
The coaching staff likely sensed Shelton wasn’t the only player dealing with the issue because the Browns (2-8) had author Jon Gordon speak to the team on Tuesday. Shelton had a copy of Gordon’s book, “The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy,” in his locker.
“He talked about staying positive and fighting the negative feedback, negative comments on how we’re doing,” Shelton said. “ ... You hear a lot of noise about our offense and defense and not letting that type of stuff get into our heads and being able to push past.”
Shelton left the motivational speech with a brighter outlook and mentioned his goal to go 6-0 in the final stretch four times during his interview Wednesday.
As defensive line coach Anthony Weaver has pointed out, Shelton is susceptible to being almost too hard on himself because he has such high expectations for his production.
“Coming into my rookie season, I thought it’d be a lot easier for me to play ball, to play the way I played,” Shelton said. “But it went a different way. It didn’t go the way I want it to go, and I didn’t produce as much as I wanted to do.”
Shelton has 20 tackles, including three for loss, without a sack in 10 games with the Browns. Last year, he had 93 tackles, including 16½ for loss and nine sacks, in 14 games with the University of Washington.
Shelton also has been on the field much less than he was in college. Instead of playing the vast majority of the snaps like he did for the Huskies, he has played 332-of-698 snaps (47.6 percent) for the Browns.
“That was part of the mental part, not being used to being on the sideline and watching other guys play and produce,” Shelton said. “In college, I’m playing non-stop, 70-plus plays. It was a big difference. That was probably one of the things that got me at the beginning.”
Ex-Browns running back Terrance West will face his former team for the second time this season, but he’ll be in a different uniform for the rematch.
Fed up with West’s inconsistent practice habits and immaturity, the Browns traded him to the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 6 for a conditional seventh-round selection in 2016. But the Browns won’t receive anything in return for West because he didn’t play in enough games for Tennessee to meet the conditions of the trade. On Nov. 7, the Titans cut West, a third-round pick in last year’s draft.
Prior to the Titans growing weary of West, he played for them Sept. 20 when they fell 28-14 to the Browns in Cleveland. He lost his second fumble in as many weeks during the game and has been benched ever since.
However, West will be active against the Browns on Monday night, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said during a conference call. The Ravens will rely on rookie Javorius “Buck” Allen, a fourth-round selection, as their starting running back because Justin Forsett suffered a season-ending broken arm this past weekend.
“[West is] the next man up for us, so he’ll be in some role,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t know exactly to what extent he’s ready, and we’ll just have to figure that out as the week goes on. Just going to try to do the best he can whatever he’s asked to do.”
After the Titans cut West, his hometown Ravens signed him to their practice squad on Nov. 10 and promoted him to their active roster on Nov. 18.
“We knew him from the draft,” Harbaugh said. “We liked him.”
• Cornerback Joe Haden and wide receivers Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel didn’t practice Wednesday because the remain in the NFL’s concussion protocol. Left guard Joel Bitonio (ankle) and defensive lineman Randy Starks (knee) sat out as well.
• Starting quarterback Josh McCown is one of 32 player nominees for the second annual Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, the NFL announced Wednesday. A player from each NFL team was nominated. The Browns nominated Haden last year, when Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald won the award.
• Harbaugh said he respects Browns coach Mike Pettine for making a difficult decision by benching quarterback Johnny Manziel: “Yeah, that’s always tough. Just a lot of respect for Mike and how he handles all the situations like that. He does a great job. Certainly can understand what he’s doing and nothing but respect for what he’s doing.”
• Quarterback Austin Davis, who is now McCown’s primary backup, didn’t join the Browns until they signed him Sept. 7, so he missed valuable learning time in training camp. However, he has gained ground. “I feel good with what we’re doing,” Davis said. “I’ve been here long enough to have an understanding of what we’re doing. I’ve done everything I can up to this point.”