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Need to Know: Browns were 'rocking and rolling' at energetic Thursday practice

Gregg Williams had a bounce to his step as he walked to the podium after Thursday's practice.

He assured there'd be some similar swagger inside the locker room. He wasn't wrong.

The Browns coach said the team was "rocking and rolling" at a spirited Thursday practice as Cleveland continued its preparations for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans.

"There was a lot of competition," Williams said. "There was a lot of jabbering going on back and forth in a positive, fun way – competing way."

Since he took over as coach last month, Williams has inserted extra competitive periods into the team's practices. The Browns start practice with a competitive period and close with at least one more, if not two or three.

Relaying an example, Williams said quarterback Baker Mayfield "took it to another level" in the competitive periods Wednesday and it "bled over" into Thursday's practice.

Williams said it's "vital" players experience that kind of pressure and environment.

"We are going to get ready to play against guys who belong in the league. They have to practice against those kinds of things, too," Williams said. "You know that you got them. You know that they are getting better when that kind of energy and that kind of execution was taking place yesterday and today."

-- Williams raved about middle linebacker Joe Schobert, who hasn't missed a beat since he returned from a three-game absence. Schobert, who was Cleveland's only Pro Bowler last season, missed time with a hamstring injury but "did not let the mind sleep" while he was on the sidelines," Williams said.

Despite missing three games, Schobert is second on the team with 64 tackles and has had his hands in a number of the team's 27 takeaways, a total that ranks second in the NFL.

"I saw the same competitive, unbelievable competition on wanting to be faster than whatever the prognosis was or whatever the diagnosis was and there he was going to come back faster," Williams said. "Sometimes when you are down for a little bit of time, you come back and it is a shock to get back into the verbiage and to get back into the speed of things. It was not any shock because he was doing it every single day in practice, and that helped him a lot."

-- Browns offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens said Greg Robinson is coming off his best game yet with the Browns.

The veteran left tackle, who took over for Desmond Harrison when the rookie fell ill before Week 9's game against the Chiefs, has started the past three games and been a key reason why the Browns have limited opponents to just two sacks during that period. Cleveland hasn't surrendered a sack in each of the last two games, something that last happened in 2007.

"Not many pressures have come from the left side," Kitchens said. "As long as he can continue to do that and it benefits the team, then Greg is in there. He has accepted the challenge of going against guys on the other side of the ball on their pass rush and their moves and things like that. He has done very well."

Robinson's comeback story has been well-documented. The No. 2 pick in the 2014 draft, Robinson is on his third team after disappointing stints with the Rams and Lions. The significance hasn't been lost on him.

"I have always had confidence in my ability," Robinson said. "I feel like at times I was given the short end of the spoon, but all I can do is show up each day continue to get better and work my butt off."

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