Asked about the Browns' improvement over the past 12 games, Hue Jackson didn't flinch.
The Cleveland coach has been frustrated beyond belief by the team's 0-12 record, calling it one of the hardest things he's ever experienced, but he remained adamant about the young Browns' continued growth and development.
"I see some young players. I see some guys shedding blocks. They are making tackles. I see some guys at the point of attack doing certain things, gap blocking a little bit better than where we were. I see some of our receivers still emerging," Jackson said. "But it is not enough. It is not enough to win at this level. We just have to keep working at it. That starts with me and it kind of trickles down everywhere else, but I have to get it fixed."
Here were the five who impressed Sunday against the Giants.
The Browns play the New York Giants in Week 12.
LB Corey Lemonier - Until Sunday, Lemonier hadn't been active for a game since the Browns' Week 6 loss at Tennessee. Against the Giants and with a limited amount of snaps, Lemonier made an impact on the game, picking up his second sack of the season -- the Browns' only of the game -- in the first quarter and knocking down a pass in the second quarter. The arrival of Jamie Collins Sr. has led to less snaps for outside linebackers/pass rushers such as Lemonier, Tyrone Holmes and Cam Johnson. Lemonier has handled it well and didn't let the opportunity pass him by Sunday.
DB Jamar Taylor - You probably didn't think much about Taylor during Sunday's game. That's typically a good thing when you play the position he does. With Tramon Williams Sr. sidelined for a second consecutive week, Taylor handled most of Williams' responsibilities in the slot. The primary player Taylor marked, rookie Sterling Shepard, didn't receive even a single target on the 51 snaps he played. Taylor has been pushing through a nagging groin injury that limited him to 10 snaps against the Cowboys, kept him on the sidelines Week 10 at Baltimore and limited him in practice over the past two weeks. He looked the part of a healthy, reliable cornerback Sunday who has been a true bright spot in a young Cleveland secondary.
DB Briean Boddy-Calhoun - Targeted early and often by Eli Manning, Boddy-Calhoun was up to the task, knocking down a number of deep balls and registering a tackle for loss along the way. The undrafted rookie has maintained a role on the Browns defense ever since he registered a pick-six Week 3 against the Dolphins. "My coaches have a lot of trust in me and we had great preparation throughout the week," Boddy-Calhoun said. "We have two great guys on the other side in Jamar and Joe (Haden), so I knew that I was going to get targeted a lot today."
WR Terrelle Pryor Sr. - What more can be said about one of the NFL's best stories this season? Pryor had one of his best games of the year Sunday, hauling in six catches for 131 yards against one of the best secondaries in the league. His 54-yard catch early in the fourth quarter was his longest of the season. On the year, Pryor is eighth in the NFL with 855 receiving yards and 12th with 62 receptions. As Jackson said after the game, he's continuing to improve as the season progresses, and that bodes well for the next four games and beyond.
TE Seth DeValve - The fourth-round rookie was singled out by Jackson after the game for the improvement he's made that goes beyond the career-high three catches for 39 yards he had Sunday. "I saw Seth DeValve get better today," Jackson said. "It is not just because he caught the ball. It is just certain things he did in the passing game." DeValve played a season-high 20 snaps and continues to show more and more comfort in the Browns offense after dealing with multiple injuries during training camp and the first half of the season.