Gregg Williams loves his job, but he's not worried about anything beyond the Browns' final two games.
With every win, Williams gains more momentum to keep the Browns' head coaching job. Could the Browns really start over if Williams finishes 6-2? Doesn't Williams believe he's earned serious consideration to remain in charge of the Browns?
Those questions are fair, but Williams doesn't see now as the appropriate time to address them.
"I do not think it is fair to the players or to anybody here (to address my future)," Williams said. "The most important thing is making sure that these guys understand how we continue to win and how we get ready for the Bengals. That is the way that my mindset has always been. We will talk about (my future) at the end (of the season)."
With the playoffs virtually out of reach, though, the head coaching search is one of the NFL's biggest storylines. Barring several happy coincidences, the Browns' final two games matter only to team growth.
Williams' players believe he has a strong resume. He stepped into a tough situation and oversaw one of the most promising stretches of Browns football since the team returned to Cleveland. His players love his aggressive philosophy and the assertive tone in which he conveys that philosophy. Wide receiver Breshad Perriman has been a Browns player for just over two months. Listen to his endorsement of Williams.
"I feel like he deserves credit for a lot of the stuff that's going on now," Perriman said. "The fire and energy that he's bringing to this team has been incredible. I feel like you can't really put a limit for the amount of credit you give him."
Perriman believes the Browns have adopted Williams' personality, which hasn't seemed like much of an adjustment for Baker Mayfield. Mayfield is an impassioned competitor in his own right. Like Williams, Mayfield doesn't give much credence to outside opinions. And like Williams, Mayfield doesn't mince words. That's Mayfield's favorite part about his interim coach.
"What you see is what you get," Mayfield said of Williams. "There is no smoke and mirrors. Communication is very open and honest. He is trusting Freddie Kitchens to do his job and for us to go execute. I think that is very important."
Some of Williams' staunchest supporters are the defensive players. Safety Jabrill Peppers said he loves Williams and would love to see Williams become the head coach, but Peppers knows he has little control over that decision.
That's been the theme of the Williams' coaching tenure; it's still the theme of the Browns' thimble-sized playoff chances. Control what you can, worry about the rest later. It also happens to be theme of his chance to remain as head coach.
Williams was asked Monday about what the Browns have to do to become an elite team next season. Will he even be able to oversee those steps? No one knows. So in Williams' mind, there's no point in addressing them.
"Those will be really good things that we will talk about when it comes to the offseason," Williams said. "But right now, we really have to be dedicated and focused on this next game."