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Browns helped by 'professional approach'

Posted Oct 7, 2013

The Cleveland Browns have taken a professional, business-like approach to the game, and that has made the difference for the team over the last three weeks.

At times, football can be a lot like baking.

If all the ingredients mix together well and are cooked at the proper temperature for an appropriate amount of time, the baker gets a delicious cake worthy of sitting in the store front window.

In the case of the Cleveland Browns, take a group of coaches with a plan and mix them with 53 players who want to succeed, and couple hat with veteran leadership from captains Joe Thomas and D’Qwell Jackson, mold for four weeks during training camp and work through some obstacles, and what you have is not only a recipe for success, but a three-game winning streak.

“It’s a very professional group of players, and we go about our business the right way,” Thomas said. “We don’t let outside distractions come in and bother us. We won a few games, so those are all things that are good.

“Guys have handled it very maturely and professionally, and that’s the way you want guys to handle it, but you never really know until you’re put in those situations. That’s the professional approach that we have every, single day when we walk in this building for practice. That’s the approach that guys have on Sunday, and I think it’s a great characteristic that guys can have.”

In addition to professionalism, Jackson feels the players have exuded a certain amount of resiliency that has allowed the team to recover from an 0-2 start, the trade of starting running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, and injuries to starting quarterbacks Brandon Weeden and Brian Hoyer, and then, rattle off three straight victories.

“To start the season out 0-2, a lot of people didn’t give us a chance, but it showed the true character of the guys we have in this building,” Jackson said. “We’ve got a lot of young guys that have played some great football, and we’ve got some great teachers. We’ve put all of that together and were able to string some wins together, and hopefully, this weekend against Detroit, we can do the same.”

The changes in attitude have been noticed throughout the locker room, especially by the newest Browns. They have seen a desire well up inside the players and result in improved on-field performance.

“It just boils down to wanting to win games, and we have a lot of guys in this building that want to win and want to do it in the worst way,” veteran outside linebacker Paul Kruger said. “To me, it comes down to a bunch of guys that care about each other, that want to win for each other, and if you want to be successful, you’ve got to come in here fighting every day. It’s never going to be easy. We’ve had a lot of close games, and those will teach you a lot about yourselves. I think we’re on the right track. We’ve just got to keep grinding. We’re going to have a lot of tough games coming up, and we’ve got to keep rolling.”

Running back Willis McGahee added, “I notice that everybody has a fire in their eyes. They like the feeling that’s going on right now. We’re winning, and everybody wants to keep that going. Everybody’s got a little swag to them. We’re going to have fun when we win. We’re just going to go out there and play Browns football.”

RETURNING TO THE FIELD

Following a weekend off after a compressed week leading up to last Thursday’s game against the Buffalo Bills, the Browns returned to the practice field Monday morning and began making their preparations for Sunday’s contest against the Detroit Lions, but also, focused on interior improvements.

“We got a chance to do some introduction to Detroit and some initial work on them, but mostly, we want to focus on ourselves and getting ourselves better,” coach Rob Chudzinski said. “Today’s practice is primarily a lot of fundamental work; coming out and getting some young guys some chances and opportunities to get some reps as well, then, getting some situational work, some things that we’ve wanted to get better at and focus on that.

“Detroit, obviously, is going to be a big challenge for us this week. We want to continue to keep improving. We’ve been able to improve every week and get better. That’s what we’re setting out to do this week, as well.”

INJURY UPDATES

After Monday’s practice, Chudzinski provided updates on Hoyer and fullback Chris Ogbonnaya, who were injured in Thursday’s 37-24 win over the Bills at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Hoyer suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee, and Ogbonnaya experienced a concussion while trying to catch a pass out of the backfield.

“I believe he has one more doctor looking at it,” Chudzinski said of Hoyer’s knee. “I don’t think there’s an actual scheduled date for (surgery). I’ll let you know when I do get that information.”

He added about Ogbonnaya, “He’s going through the concussion protocol, but seems to be doing really well on that.”