Every player on the Cleveland Browns walks past a sign each day right outside the cafeteria. It’s a landmark in the facility you can’t miss.
In big, bold letter, it reads: Play Like A Brown.
But as we gear up for training camp and the start of the season, the focus now shifts to the words underneath that Play Like A Brown sign: accountable, relentless, productive, passionate, tough and competitive.
These words will shape the franchise for years to come.
Definition: Subject to the obligation to report, explain, or justify something; responsible; answerable.
Losing NFL franchises, including some Browns teams of the past, all share a common problem: finger-pointing. Often, players are hesitant in the film room to own up to their mistakes on the field. It’s human nature. It’s also a habit that can unravel a football team from the seams.
Pettine is in charge of flipping that mental attitude upside down, which so far is already evident. He doesn’t want players to be afraid of making mistakes in games or especially practices. But he does want them to know what they did wrong, when they committed the mistake, how the mistake affected teammates and how to make sure the miscue doesn’t happen again. The speed in fixing those mistakes, and holding players accountable who are repeat offenders, is how the Cleveland Browns will improve on Sunday’s.
So while he lets his coordinators control most of tempo and play calls during practice, Pettine himself has grabbed the reigns of the Browns’ culture.
“The mental toughness is what every player has control over,” said Pettine. “We’re all going to get knocked down. We’re all going to get our nose bloody. How do we respond to that? How quickly do we get up? How quickly are we right back into attack mode? And that’s critical. When you have a culture of losing that’s been here, you have to adapt your way of thinking. I faced it in New York, the same old Jets. It was in Buffalo, the same old Bills. Losing as a mentality is a habit. Just like winning is a habit.”
Accountability, like all six words on this list, will mean different things for different players.
Accountability is real here Cleveland. Those that aren’t making sure they approaching the mental part of the game that way will be lagging behind.