Browns take 'us against world' mentality

Posted Nov 16, 2013

The Cleveland Browns have embraced an “us against the world” mentality as they prepare to play four of their last seven games on the road, starting Sunday in Cincinnati.

Having played against the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium, the world’s loudest outdoor sports stadium, and faced the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Baltimore Ravens, in their home-opening celebration, the Cleveland Browns are no strangers to playing tough teams on the road.

They will get another test Sunday when they face off against the Cincinnati Bengals, the first-place team in the AFC North Division, in front of 65,515 fans at Paul Brown Stadium. The players embrace the opportunity that awaits.

“When you’re on the road, it’s almost like you against the world as far as us as a team,” quarterback Jason Campbell said. “I think you find out a lot about your team when you’re on the road, how close or how tough you are as a team. You’re in someone else’s stadium and all of the fans are kind of going against you. That’s the time when you pull together as a team and see what you’re all about.”

Six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas added, “Certainly, we’re confident and comfortable playing on the road. I don’t know what our record was on the road in previous years, but I do know we didn’t win a lot of games, home or away, so it’s hard to say we struggled more on the road than at home. We just weren’t very good. Now, we’re starting to win a little bit and I expect, home and away, we’re going to win more games.”

In Campbell’s opinion, there are two keys to playing well on the road: effective communication and being patient.

“Communication is one of the most important things,” Campbell said. “Second is being patient, understanding that you’ve got to ride the wave from the get-go. In the beginning when things are loud and teams are pumped, you’ve got to try to keep yourself at even keel. In a hostile environment, it’s pretty much the same way as when you’re home sometimes. Sometimes, you can get too amped up. For us, it’s just a matter of taking one play at a time, not try to win the game with one play and keep staying within the game.

“It’s all about patience and just communicating. The NFL is a tough league, a tough game as it is, and the guys understand. I think that’s part of our growth as a team. We’re one of the youngest football teams in the league, and as we continue to go down the stretch, every game’s a different learning experience, a different growth for us and we’ll just continue progressing that way.”

In addition to communication and patience, Campbell, a nine-year NFL veteran, knows the importance of keeping control of the football.

Since being named the Browns’ starting quarterback ahead of the game at Kansas City on Oct. 27, Campbell has attempted 74 passes without an interception, and the offense has played eight straight quarters without a turnover.

The Browns’ only fumble came on a punt return in the fourth quarter against the Chiefs.

“It’s a big factor,” Campbell said. “In any game that we play, definitely ones like this, you think about it, but at the same time, you try to still go out and play aggressively. When bad things happen in a game, it’s all about rebounding and I think our football team has done well and shown resilience. We’ve faced some hard times, so this will be a big test for us.”

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