The Browns have honed in on ball security ever since their 28-3 loss to the Ravens. GM Andrew Berry's major point of emphasis during the bye week focused on the need for better ball security. HC Kevin Stefanski agreed with Berry and came out of the bye week spending part of Monday's practice working through drills on security.
The team had three turnovers in Week 4 and a total of 10 turnovers on the season, which is tied for third in the NFL in turnover margin.
"The number one thing that we have to do is something that Kevin (Stefanski) has preached since the day he got the job, and that's protect the football," Berry said in Week 5. "We've turned the ball over ten times this season and we've lost the turnover battle in all four games that we've played this year, and quite honestly, that's not a sustainable way to win football games in the NFL. So that's really the first thing that we have to get corrected."
Check out photos of the team working to prepare for the San Francisco 49ers
In the first three games of the season, the Browns committed two interceptions. Then, against the Ravens, rookie QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw three interceptions in his first career start. They also have a total of five fumbles on the season.
The Browns are set to face another strong defense in the 49ers, who have nine takeaways on the season. Looking at the 49ers defense, they are currently in the top three in the league in points allowed, yards allowed and first downs allowed.
OC Alex Van Pelt said that ball security is their No. 1 objective for Sunday's game, and to come out of Sunday's game with zero giveaways. They've talked about the importance of ball security over the course of this week, and those conversations will continue up until the game.
"We'll give our ourselves a chance to win when we don't turn the ball over period," Van Pelt said. "And it's a good defense, but regardless of who's playing, we can hold onto the ball and we can make good decisions."
WR Amari Cooper also sees the importance of taking care of the ball. He has been more concerned with the team executing and keeping things operational. He feels if the team can play their brand of football and protect the ball at all costs, they can play with any team.
"Turnovers is the biggest differentiating factor between winning and losing," Cooper said. "So, we just preach and drill and try to hone in on ball security, catching stuff, always protecting the football because it's all about the ball. This is what the game is about, the ball. So, the remedy for that is to protect the ball at all costs. The hopes and dreams of the organization, the Cleveland Browns organization, is in the guy who has the ball in his hand. So that's how serious we take."