The Browns are refusing to let themselves sink into the doldrums after an 0-5 start.
Instead, Cleveland's locker room remains upbeat after a loss to New England that was something of an eye-opener for what the team aspires to eventually be under first-year head coach Hue Jackson and how much work it'll take to get there.
But that dynamic, Jackson said, shouldn't be conflated for a discouraged or deflated football team.
"I'm going to stay determined. This team is going to stay determined. We are going to stay together and we are going to keep working at it. That is what I love about these guys. I know everybody says, 'Well, you guys are 0-5. How much long can you keep playing this card until you get there,'" he said Monday.
"We are a pro team. Our job and our mission is to go out and win every game and to work every week to get better. That's my job to motivate these guys, along with our staff, to get them to buy into what we're trying to sell. We understand we are a young team, but we are going to work at it every day to continue to get better."'
On Wednesday, his players echoed a similar sentiment as they prepare for a road trip to Tennessee this weekend. And they said it starts with their relentlessly-positive head coach.
"I think Hue does an amazing job of kind of setting the mood and the energy for the day in the morning," veteran left tackle Joe Thomas said. "He's a very positive, high energy, emotional coach and I think that really plays well to being in the situation that we're in."
That approach has served the Browns well as they search for their first win of the season amid a pile of key injuries and just plain "bad luck," Jackson said. But the club won't sugarcoat a disappointing winless start.
"Our team has to continue to grow in a lot of different areas. That is my responsibility as the head coach of this football team, and I get that, along with our staff, to continue to get these men better," Jackson said Monday. "The effort is there. There is no question about that. The guys are working extremely hard. They are giving everything they have."
The hope this week in Nashville, of course, is that hard work translates into wins on the field. The Browns said there's a sense of urgency to taste victory.
"It is like every week, we keep saying 'It's time to get one here and we are going to get one this week,' so I know it is frustrating for the fans. It is frustrating for us. It is probably frustrating for some of you guys that are Cleveland Browns fans and reporters as well, so I am frustrated, everybody is frustrated but this is the time that we have to stick together and keep fighting because if we don't quit, good things are going to come out," wide receiver Terrelle Pryor said.
Thomas added, "I think it's important to get a win because you don't want the losses to snowball."
"In the NFL, you can have wins or losses kind of snowball and momentum — whether it's a real tangible thing or not — seems to happen in the NFL," he continued. "It's important to stop the bleeding, we're 0-5 right now, that's who we are and we own it."
But the Browns won't let that define them. Jackson won't let them.
"We're 0-5," Thomas said, "but he comes in on Wednesday and gives us exactly what he expects from us in a positive, exciting, upbeat manner and kind of sets the energy for the whole day and the whole week."