5 things: Browns focused, plenty motivated as Patriots come to town

Hue Jackson isn't making Sunday's game against the Patriots into more than it is.

Asked if the Browns will carry an "us-against-the-world" approach into their meeting with a New England team that's been a beacon of consistency, the head coach shook his head.

"What matters is what's in that locker room over there and how we play and how we think. I'm realistic. I believe in reality. It's really about playing. We get three hours to decide how this thing's going to unfold and we have a say in it," Jackson said Friday. [


](​Jackson said the Browns, who host the Patriots at FirstEnergy Stadium in hopes of seizing their first win of the season, control how Sunday shakes out.

"It's how well we play and if we're able to do what we're capable of doing play-in and play-out, then we have just as good a chance as anybody. If we don't, then we don't. That's what it is. I want our players to understand that's how you win in the National Football League," he said.

"It's not because you get amped up or any of those things for one game or another. You play well week-in and week-out. You become consistent and you play as well as you can play and things take care of themselves."

'You have to entrench yourself in everything'

After watching the Cavaliers win the NBA Championship and now seeing the Indians in the MLB playoffs, head coach Hue Jackson said he hopes the Browns can soon have similar success.

"Someday, we hope to give our fans something to scream about, too. It was awesome watching the Cavs do what they did. It's exciting watching the Indians do what they're doing right now," Jackson said, referencing the Indians' 5-4 win over the Red Sox on Thursday night in Game 1 of the American League Division Series.

"I wish (Indians manager Terry) Francona nothing but the best. He knows that. I've gotten to meet him personally and think the world of him. I'm pulling for him all the way. Hopefully, they'll be pulling for us at some point in time, too. That's what this is truly all about."

Jackson, who has embraced Cleveland and all three of its sports teams since taking over the Browns this past January, said it's important he stay involved with the community.

"I think when you work for an organization and you're one of the leaders, you have to entrench yourself in everything. I've tried to do that. I think that's really important. I don't want people to think I'm here just for a cup of coffee," he said, laughing. "I plan on being here a long time, contrary to what everybody thinks. I will be here a long time. It's the starting point.

"I think the starting point is really important so people know and understand that I am here. I am interested in more than just what we do. I'm interested in what everybody does. I have a real appreciation for our fans and for the city and what we're trying to accomplish here. I know right now, it looks like we're a little ways off, but I promise you, like I said before, we're going to get there. I truly believe that." 

No motivation needed

As one of the league's most consistent franchises, Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton said Cleveland's defense doesn't need any extra motivation to play the Patriots.

"When you talk about New England, when I talk about New England, our players this week are very excited, and I think they realize what they are going against – the championships, the names, the legacy, and all that stuff," Horton said, referencing Patriots coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.

"You don't have to motivate this week because they know who they are playing. They are excited about the challenge and the opportunity to play these guys."

The Browns last played New England in 2013, when the Patriots stormed back from a double-digit deficit to top Cleveland, 27-26, in Foxboro.

Horton, who served as Cleveland's defensive coordinator that year before spending the past two seasons with the Tennessee Titans, said he remembers that loss, but won't use it as a form of motivation for Sunday.

After all, Horton said, "I don't know how many guys were here for that."

"Most of our guys never played New England so what do they care what happened in the past. They are just worried about now," he continued. "I know what happened, but no, we just are preparing for New England."

The go-to guy

As Terrelle Pryor continues to produce and grow within the Browns' offensive system, associate head coach - offense Pep Hamilton described the quarterback-turned-wide receiver as the team's "go-to" guy.

"We have to keep going to him, getting him the football and he will make plays for us. He is another guy that is learning on the job, and with that being said, he is continuing to make progress and he has made a ton of plays," Hamilton said.

"I'm sure that we have left a few plays out there that we would have liked to have made – not just Terrelle but our entire offensive unit – but he is competing. He is very competitive and he is a versatile player. He is a tough, smart guy that can make plays for us. We just have to make sure that for four quarters he has opportunities to make those plays that we know he can make."

Pryor, who totaled 200 yards at Miami and then caught his first touchdown against Washington last weekend, said he's adjusting to becoming a focal point of opposing defenses.

"We deal with a lot of stuff in terms of teams guarding me. I get double-covered a lot, and it is tough for him to get me the ball for the most part," Pryor said. "A lot of guys will roll up on me, and then they have safeties over the top and you have a corner sitting on every route underneath so it is tough. It is tough to do."

The Patriots, of course, will offer Pryor and the Browns offense another test.

'One of the top units we'll play'

Browns special teams coordinator Chris Tabor described the Patriots as "probably one of the top units that we'll play all year."

"You start with returners and the punt game. (Patriots WR/PR Danny) Amendola, he's obviously been in the league a long time and has always played at an extremely high level. They drafted (Patriots CB) Cyrus Jones. They still have (Patriots WR Julian) Edelman back there that they can put back there. They have a lot of dangerous weapons," Tabor said.

"They use (Patriots WR) Matthew Slater and Cyrus Jones back there as kick returners. Those guys are, obviously, really good. Their cover players, a lot of speed, probably one of the faster teams that we'll face. Led by Slater and (Patriots DB Nate) Ebner and (Patriots DB) Jonathan Jones, I mean, the list goes on and on."

Jackson on Thursday said the Browns special teams have been playing "a lot of young guys" and they're "by no means a finished product yet."

"It is a little shock for some of the guys, but our guys are getting better each and every day, and it is a huge part of a football team, the special teams," he said. "We have to continue to do it better and get better at it, and I think we will."

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