Ask Vic: Browns don’t expect losing

Posted Dec 16, 2013

Senior Editor Vic Carucci answers fan questions from the Browns’ official Facebook and Twitter pages, and

You’ve got questions and comments that you submit to the Browns’ official Facebook and Twitter pages, and Here’s what I have to say about what you have to say:

Joseph says: “Do you think the Browns’ players subconsciously believe they’re bound to lose?”

I say: I wouldn’t presume to know what is going on inside the collective mind of the Browns’ players or anyone else, for that matter, Joseph.

But I do understand why you’re raising that point.

When a team repeatedly squanders fourth-quarter leads, you search for reasons. Is it physical, as in not enough stamina to carry through the final 15 minutes or simply not enough playmakers to deliver when it counts the most? Is it mental, as in not enough concentration/killer instinct to finish off an opponent or the necessary acumen to win the coaching chess match?

However, I have a very hard time believing that the cause is any sort of prevailing defeatist attitude among the players. Although we all feel we’re watching the same feel-bad movie, over and over, I don’t sense that the Browns have adopted a mentality that no matter what they do, they can’t win. I don’t see them treating each heartbreaking outcome as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

They are competing too hard each week, from start to finish, for me to accept that they are anything but a group of players who don’t expect to win.

Chris says: “Edwin Baker had a nice game Sunday. Could this be a guy who could develop into an effective starter for the Browns and be a big-time back?”

I say: That’s probably going a little too far with a projection based on only one game, Chris.

I would need to see much more through the final two games of the season to determine whether Baker even has set the foundation for a strong case to be in the mix for a starting job or even a roster spot next season.

Keep in mind that was the NFL’s worst run defense he faced on Sunday. And his legs were far fresher than those typically found in a player at this late stage of the season.

Let’s see what Baker does in Week 16, against the Jets, who entered Week 15 with the second-ranked run defense in the league. Let’s see what he does in the season-finale at Pittsburgh.

But I am highly impressed with how quickly he hits the hole, with his burst, with his explosiveness, with his elusiveness. I like his ability to make an impact as a receiver and a runner.

Ideally, Dion Lewis will be fully recovered from the season-ending broken leg he suffered in the preseason, and he and Baker will compete (along with others) for the Browns’ No. 1 running back job.

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