First place Browns not celebrating their record, yet
- It's been a whirlwind of a weekend for the Cleveland Browns. Everything the last couple of days has gone right. The team throttled the Bengals 24-3, on NFL Network and watched their arch rival Pittsburgh Steelers lose a shocking game in New York to the Jets.
- The national media has sprayed a chunk of their attention towards the Browns, leading all conversations with all things Cleveland – the defense, Brian Hoyer, Mike Pettine. "The Browns are the best team in the AFC North," proclaimed NFL Network analyst and Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk.
- The praiseworthy attention is nice. But the Browns aren't getting wrapped up in it.
- "There's no prize for being 6-3," said coach Mike Pettine. "The only thing that's done for us is our games are meaningful now. You still have to have the ability to put that one in a box and move onto the next one. It makes it a little more difficult because of what they've been hearing now for three or four days, but I didn't have to hit them with a bunch of coach speak and all that. I think this is a mature group that can handle it. It showed today in how they showed up and how they've worked in practice."
- "We need to keep our goals at the forefront," said Paul Kruger, who leads the Browns with six sacks. "You can't lose focus it. It's almost like we are anxious for the next opportunity.
- Karlos Dansby, who leads the team in tackles with 69, said the Browns had a solid day of practice, working on installing their defensive game plan for the Texans.
- "We're one step closer. We've got to keep it together and keep finishing ball games," said Dansby.
- "We still have seven games to go," said Andrew Hawkins. "It was cool to reflect on it all with a couple days off but I think if you ask anybody on the team, we're all moving forward."
Ben Tate readying for some 'fun' Sunday against the Texans
- On Monday, HoustonTexans.com, penned an article from some of Ben Tate's former teammates. Wide receiver Andre Johnson said he's pretty sure Tate "will be talking a lot of trash" in a playful manner.
- Tate has kept in touch with several of his former teammates in Houston. He raved about the camaraderie the Texans built through some successful seasons.
- "It's definitely going to be a little bit more fun," Tate told reporters on Tuesday by his locker.
- Tate carried the ball 10 times against the Bengals for 34 yards and the ultra-important first quarter touchdown, putting the Browns ahead 7-0 moments after a Craig Robertson interception. Combined with Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell, the Browns rushed for 170 yards and three touchdowns.
- "We just had that mindset that we wanted to pound the rock and we came out and did a good job," said Tate.
News and Notes
- When Hawkins warmed up on the field in Cincinnati last Thursday, all bets were on him playing against his former team. But at the end of the day, the Browns didn't think it was worth it to risk further injury to such an integral member to the offense. Hawkins said he was happy to see that Cleveland has the infrastructure in place to make big decisions like that.
- "As you can see, they didn't need me," Hawkins said with a smile. "It was good to get a little extra rest and get ready going forward."
- When the Jets beat the Steelers Sunday, Browns fans, players and coaches all rejoiced. The unexpected 20-13 upset cooled down the red-hot Steelers and lowered their record to 6-4. Pettine and his mentor, Jets head coach Rex Ryan, had been in contact all throughout the week.
- "I was very happy for them, and it was mutually beneficial," Pettine said. "He and I had talked during the week. He has watched our game Thursday night. It was really his first chance to see us. He sent me a congratulatory message, and we just kind of had some talk back and forth."
- Tashaun Gipson was held out of practice on Tuesday after complaining of some headache issues. The Browns are following the NFL's concussion protocol and will know more news on Wednesday.
- Hawkins (ankle/thigh) and Jordan Cameron (concussion) also missed practice on Tuesday.