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Browns' logistics for cross-country trip to San Diego center on simplicity

Mike Pettine didn't reveal the identity of his inspiration, only revealing his source as a "wise coach."

With two West Coast trips on the schedule for the first time since he became Browns coach, Pettine did his homework as he mapped out the team's travel plans. As a coach with more than a decade of experience in the NFL, Pettine's seen all of the possible strategies and seen teams respond in all sorts of ways.

The wise coach, meanwhile, didn't bother overthinking it.

"If you want to win on the road, take a (darn) good football team with you," Pettine recalled. "That is the easiest thing."

With that understood, the Browns are opting to keep things as normal as possible.

Cleveland will leave for San Diego on Saturday and go through a similar version of the routine it uses for road trips in every other time zone. The major difference, of course, is the lengthy plane ride, which will be about three hours longer than any of the other trips the Browns have made under Pettine.

"We want to be fresh. We want to be focused. We want to be prepared. That is the best way. I don't think we are going to get ourselves out of our element," Pettine said. "Doing the research on it, the earlier you go out, I think the more potential negative effect it has on you the (week after the game)."

The Browns will be on the road again next week with a much shorter trip to Baltimore. In December, Cleveland travels to Seattle and Kansas City in back-to-back weeks.

Each team in the NFL has its own strategy for cross-country trips. Some, like the Baltimore Ravens earlier this season, make requests with the league to get these games on back-to-back weeks in order to stay on the other side of the country for a week-plus and eliminate a long flight from the schedule. When the Oakland Raiders traveled to Cleveland last week, they arrived Friday.

Veteran linebacker Paul Kruger has experienced both kinds of trips, going from West to East as a college player at Utah and East to West during his time with the Baltimore Ravens. Though it's common with a number of teams around the NFL, this weekend's trip will be the first time as a professional Kruger will leave for a cross-country trip the day before a game.

Kruger was far more concerned with how he'd stay loose and fresh in the hours after the team landed than the day he left Cleveland.

"If you go straight to your room and in meetings, you're sitting so long and so often, it's good to just move around a little bit and get your legs going and blood flowing in your body," Kruger said. "I try to be a little bit active. Not too much. Just get on your feet a little bit, get some juices flowing and get yourself ready."

This will be rookie Xavier Cooper's first long road trip in the NFL, but his memories are fresh from the ones he made at Washington State. As a junior, Cooper and the Cougars opened the season with a long trip to Auburn. Major underdogs, the Cougars ultimately fell short, 31-24.

Cooper doesn't remember much about how he got there. The ride back lingers with him.

"We've got to make sure we win that game," Cooper said, "because, man, we don't want to come home on a long plane ride after a tough loss."

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