Some Cleveland Browns had tears in their eyes, while others left the home-team locker room at FirstEnergy Stadium with blank stares after Sunday’s 32-28 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
They couldn’t conceal the frustration after suffering their third straight loss and sixth in the last seven games.
“The frustration is natural,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said Monday. “I feel it as well. The key is we funnel it, use it as fuel to take us in the right direction and to get better and to step forward the next time we have the opportunity. That’s how we’ve approached it.
“These guys are competitors. I look these guys in the eyes in meetings, in the locker room, and they want to win. They’ll do whatever it takes to win. There are tangible things that we can do better to win, and when we do those things, we’ll give ourselves that opportunity. That’s the bottom line.
“I think the frustration, the disappointment, those things, to me, are signs that guys care. And I want those things. The key is how we channel those to go in a positive direction going forward.”
“He cares a lot,” Chudzinski said of Haden. “It’s important to him. I think you saw that in his reaction. I want guys that are like that and feel that way. He’s a great player. He made a mistake. It happens to everybody, and the important thing is how he reacts to it. He’ll learn from it, and I have all the confidence in the world in Joe.”
Haden spoke with the media again on Monday, and explained the emotions he felt after the loss.
“It just hurts, (because) our players really play our hearts out and try to put our best foot forward,” Haden said. “We come in, put our work in, in the film room, working out there in practice. When the outcome isn’t what you wanted, or doesn’t come out like you want it to, it gets really, really, really frustrating.
“I put so much pressure on myself to be one of the best in the league, and I hold myself to a different standard. No matter how the game went down, no matter what happened, I was so upset because it was me against another player at the end of the game. I’m supposed to make that play. I work hard enough to make that play, and I should’ve made it. I’m mad at losing, but when the game is on the line, I feel like I’m the type of player that works to make those plays.”
Haden said he believes frustration is what you “should feel” when you lose after spending so much time preparing to succeed.
“If you don’t, if you’re not angry, then, it doesn’t mean anything to you,” Haden said. “I hope everybody knows it’s not okay to lose. No matter how much money you get, at the end of the day, it’s still a game, it’s still a profession. I want to be the best. I want my team to be the best. I want it to be successful because I’m just used to success.
“We’ve got players in here that want to be the best at the business. When I walk out of the stadium, when I leave this spot, I want people to never be able to say, ‘Haden didn’t do his all,’ or, ‘Haden didn’t put his best foot forward.’”