Gilbert, the No. 8 pick in the 2014 draft out of Oklahoma State, has just 29 combined tackles and one interception this season. He was expected to earn a starting spot opposite of Joe Haden but was beaten out by Buster Skrine.
Dansby was direct in his advice to Gilbert during a conference call on Monday.
"I don't know if he can make the transition," Dansby said. "It has to be within him. He has to look in the mirror and do that himself. I can only give him the keys. I can't make him drive."
"It's tough man, it's tough," Dansby said. "It's not college. In college you have two or three years where you can play around. This is real life. Lot of people out here are fighting for jobs and fighting to feed their families. Justin is trying to make a transition and it's not easy, man, it's not easy. ... One of the hardest things to do at this level is be consistent."
Gilbert played just 17 snaps during Sunday's loss to the Carolina Panthers. Head coach Mike Pettine said Gilbert's preparation was part of the reason for his limited playing time.
"Some of it was on the practice field," the coach said Monday. "Some of it was not. There was no violation of team rules. But that's just something that I consider family business. I'm not going to elaborate on it."
Following a 7-5 start to the season, the Browns have lost three straight games to fall out of the playoff picture in the AFC. Despite Gilbert not performing up to expectations, the Browns are No. 1 in the league with 21 interceptions and No. 7 in passing yards allowed.
The Browns finish their season on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.
- Paul Palladino