Need to Know: Jabrill Peppers' breakout performance a byproduct of expanded knowledge of Browns defense 

A question about Jabrill Peppers' status for Sunday's game provided Gregg Williams an opportunity to explain the growth and progress of his second-year safety.

A performance like Saturday's was a long time coming after all of the work Williams has seen Peppers put in behind the scenes.

Saturday’s effort, which featured a touchdown-saving interception and a game-sealing sack, was the latest sign of growth from Peppers, who has thrived in his second season with the Browns. One year removed from primarily playing the free safety position, Peppers has been disruptive and noticeably more comfortable at strong safety.

Williams thought his latest performance was worthy of AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors, which instead went to former Browns cornerback Joe Haden.

“It has been really good when you see all of the things that he is doing not just on defense but in the special teams and all of the things that we have to do to get reps there,” Williams said. “He is a playmaker from tackling to stripping the ball to touching the ball to intercepting the ball to sacking the quarterback to returning a punt to returning a kickoff to running the punt protection.

“He does everything. He comes to work every day with a demeanor and an attitude to get better. He never takes a day off, and that is fun to be around those kinds of people.”

Peppers, who is dealing with a neck issue and did not practice Thursday, already has more tackles (68) than he did as a rookie (57) while embracing a more vocal role on a Cleveland defense that has given up plenty of yards but delivered big plays in pivotal moments throughout the season.

Williams said Peppers’ knowledge of the defense is strong because of his experience at both safety positions.

“That position, like the middle linebacker, is kind of a governor or a quarterback on that side of the ball,” Williams said. “That has led to even a better understanding of some of the spatial things that we do and why we do from the checks and the understanding of where help is. 

“He has grown a lot with that and has been able to even give some ideas to some things, meaning that he sees things a certain way that maybe a coach does not see. I like those type of discussions with him. That is really cool.”

-- Browns rookie running back Nick Chubb is within reach of 1,000 yards with two games to play. At 860 on the season, Chubb needs to average 70 yards in each of Cleveland’s next two games.

That milestone, which is impressive considering he didn’t take over as the starter until the midpoint of the season, hasn’t been lost on Chubb, who has been stopped just once -- by injury -- from reaching 1,000 yards since his high school days.

“It is definitely a goal I set for every year,” Chubb said. “I think pretty much every running back looks forward to getting that 1,000 yards. Something about it just makes you feel good. Hopefully, I can do it every year.”

-- Jarvis Landry will need some help to reach his fourth Pro Bowl in five seasons. Cleveland’s leading receiver was named a third alternate Tuesday.

Landry, who leads the Browns with 72 receptions for 827 yards, said he’d hoped to reach the NFL’s annual all-star event but doesn’t feel slighted.

“There are some damn good receivers in this league that have pretty good years, and I was not at the top this time so I have more work to do. I know that,” Landry said. “Now I have some things to work on, some things to learn from and grow, and I am going to be in it next year.”

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