Chudzinski: Browns are 'close team'

Posted Nov 30, 2013

Cleveland Browns coach Rob Chudzinski called the 2013 team “the closest” he has ever been around.

Injuries at key positions. Personnel changes because of performance issues. Back-to-back setbacks against AFC North Division foes in the Cincinnati Bengals on the road and Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Any and all of these things could have destroyed a team’s mission and set it back in its progression, but that has not been the case for the Cleveland Browns, according to coach Rob Chudzinski.

“We’re starting December, and this is an important part of the season, the stretch run here,” Chudzinski said. “This team is a very, very close team. I haven’t been around one that’s closer. There’s really not finger-pointing going on. Certainly, there’s things we need to improve on and get better at, and we’ll continue to do that, but as far as the team and the chemistry of the team, there’s no issue there.”

Ahead of this week’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Chudzinski named Brandon Weeden the starting quarterback while Jason Campbell recovers from a concussion suffered midway through the third quarter of last Sunday’s 27-11 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Inserting Weeden back into the starting lineup has marked the Browns’ fourth quarterback change since the start of the regular season.

“It’s not easy, and it’s not ideal, but it is what it is right now,” Chudzinski said. “I think that as you look at it, it’s impressive. It says a lot about the character of our guys, and those guys in the locker room, that they’ve been able to adjust, rally, re-rally and do it again behind guys. I don’t expect anything different in this case as well.”

Part of the “character” of the team manifested itself in the form of frustration after the loss to Pittsburgh, but according to fourth-year defensive back Joe Haden, that anger expressed after a defeat shows just how much the players care about winning.

“It’s frustrating because we feel we have a really talented team,” Haden said. “We have a team that can win games. I like to see and you want to see people upset. You want to see people frustrated. If we keep coming in every week like, ‘Oh, you know what I’m saying? We should just go to the next week.’ That’s when it’s like, ‘Alright, we say that every, single week.’

“It’s okay to get upset when you lose because that’s what you’re supposed to do if you think you can win. If you’re just sitting there like everything’s cool, there’s a problem. I like the fact that people are upset. That means that people care and that means that we really believe that we can win.”

Haden said that frustration is a sign that the players are “trying to get the Browns over the hump.”

“This is the first time in a long time that we really felt like we have the players, the talent, the ability to make things happen,” Haden said. “That’s why it’s so frustrating when you lose because we know what we can do and the players on this team have the ability to do things. Everybody’s upset now because it’s like, ‘Come on. We’ve got to step up. It’s time to make plays. We have the team to win. What do we need to do to make this happen?’”

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