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Gilkey welcomes trial by fire

Posted Aug 22, 2013

Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Garrett Gilkey has embraced the opportunity to compete for first-team repetitions because of injuries to Shawn Lauvao and Jason Pinkston.

Cleveland Browns rookie offensive lineman Garrett Gilkey was pressed into service against the Detroit Lions last Thursday night when right guard Jason Pinkston suffered a high-ankle sprain on Trent Richardson’s 17-yard run in the first quarter.

And that was more than fine with Gilkey.

“You look at the impact being thrown into the fire has, I really embrace that,” Gilkey said. “I don’t like to ease into things. I want to just be thrown into it and acclimate quickly. That’s what I’m trying to do right now, acclimate to the game and work on the things I need to work on.

“Whether you’re an eighth-string guy or a first-string guy, you’ve got to be ready to go in at any minute. That’s a little tougher when you might know you’re not going to get in till later in the game or later in the half, but you have to be ready to go in at the drop of a dime.”

By getting into the game against the Lions in the first half, Gilkey competed against their defensive tackle tandem of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley.

“Those guys are great competitors,” Gilkey said of Suh and Fairley. “They’re great players, so being able to test your competition and play against guys at that level is what I want. I wouldn’t be here if that’s not what I wanted to do. I love to compete; I love to get better, and I want to be able to play against the best talent.

“It’s been a great experience to work with that veteran offensive line. It’s been really good seeing how they communicate and how they move as a unit. I’m trying to refine and tune a lot of technique things so I’m still working on my game. It’s been really good to gain that experience.”

Since the game against the Lions, Gilkey and the Browns have been going through a “mock week” of preparation ahead of the third preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday. Although the game does not count in the standings, it is important to Gilkey and the team.

“It’s 100 percent business,” Gilkey said. “It’s important to be able to see this. I’m all focused. I really want to tune in, eliminate the distractions right now and completely focus on the game. It’s important to be able to set aside anything else and just focus on my technique, my plays, whatever we need to get done here on Saturday.

“It’s all mental, making sure I understand the game plan that we have for this weekend, understanding the competition, the players I’m playing against, being able to tune in, focus and direct all my attention to this game.”