A chance at the AFC North Division Championship was spoiled with consecutive losses at the Cincinnati Bengals and home against the Pittsburgh Steelers at the end of November after a pre-bye week victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 4.
A potential playoff berth has been placed out of reach with a five-game losing streak to start the second half of the season, but in the eyes of the Cleveland Browns, there is still plenty to play for in the final two weeks of the regular season, starting with Sunday’s game at the New York Jets.
“Well, going into the offseason with a feeling of ending the season the right way, I think most importantly, you went to try and end things right,” quarterback
“We could have been a 7-7 team right now still fighting for the playoff hunt, but we’ve just got to keep fighting and understand that we’re building something and there were teams that had four wins last year or five wins last year and a year later they’re fighting for the playoffs, so when you’re in these situations, it can tell a lot about your character, your attitude and your team. Some guys (have) been part of teams before where some guys try to pack it up and move and go home and we’re not in that situation. We’re still trying to fight and move forward and improve as a group. What you do know can pay dividends later.”
Veteran tight end
“It’s always tough when you’re not playing for the playoffs, but that’s one aspect that we harp on as players and coaches,” Barnidge said. “We can’t let it be that way. It’s a privilege to be doing what we’re doing. We all enjoy it and we love it and we’re not going to let that stop us. We’re going to go out there, put out everything we can and hopefully, get a win.”
Six-time Pro Bowl left tackle
It is this time of year, when the playoffs are no longer a possibility, that Thomas said he believes players learn the most about themselves and their teammates.
“You learn a lot about the type of player somebody is during the last couple games, especially when the playoffs aren’t on the line,” Thomas said. “People want to say, ‘Nothing’s on the line,’ but you’re going to find out how much they love this game and what type of commitment they’re going to have, if they’re going to spend the extra time, even if it’s not going to mean going to the playoffs.”