Hue Jackson sees two ways to look at what the Browns have accomplished through the first four weeks of the season.
There's the positive, which has been most prevalent in the previous three weeks, as the Browns have held a lead at some point during the second half of each of the three games. And there's the negative, which is the obvious -- Cleveland's 0-4 record at the quarter point of the season.
As the Browns enter a week of preparation for the New England Patriots, their focus centers on how they can enhance what's been positive to put a halt on the negative.
"The good thing is our guys are fighting hard and putting themselves in position for a chance to win. The bad part of that is we're doing things that you have to improve at to win in the National Football League," Jackson said. "Whether it's turnovers or mistake here or mistake there, those are the things that do get you beat. Again, we have to continue to learn and grow from these things so that we can get better."
The Browns, loaded with young players at numerous spots on the field, are learning on the fly and through the adversity of injuries that have affected all three phases.
The latest are on the offensive side of the ball, as center Austin Reiter was lost for the season with a knee injury and tight end Randall Telfer, whom wide receiver Terrelle Pryor lauded Monday for his blocking, will be out a stretch with an ankle injury.
Cleveland isn't expecting sympathy from New England or anyone else that remains on the schedule.
"No one's going to feel sorry for our circumstances. I get it," Jackson said. "Yeah, it's tough but we have to find a way. We've been doing it every week since we started. Whether it's been the quarterback or shuffling the line, receiver or here or there, we still continue to go out and fight. I think that's a good thing. I think we'll grow and learn from all of these experiences that we're having right now to be better in the future."
That mentality was clear in the locker room Monday as players wrapped up a day full of treatment and meetings before embarking on a day of rest. Asked if the Browns deserved a "break" in light of their string of injuries and misfortune, quarterback Cody Kessler said Cleveland can make its own luck if it plays better during crunch time.
Despite holding leads or trailing by a single score in the second half of all four games, the Browns have scored just one second-half touchdown all season. They have 17 second-half points on the season.
"I think it is not as much as deserving a break but it's just executing and finishing the game," Kessler said. "Coach Jackson just keeps preaching about finishing the game, and it has shown up twice. It has shown up two times in a row and that is a big part for us offensively is when we get ourselves in that position and we have worked hard the whole game we want to be able to come out and execute and finish when it matters."
That's applied to the defense, too, which has allowed 34 points on the possessions following turnovers by the offense. On Sunday, the defense surrendered touchdowns after two of the Browns' three consecutive turnovers in the second half.
"I think it's us playing better in those critical moments," Jackson said. "Do intelligent things that good football teams do to give themselves a chance to win and players making plays in those situations. I think all of those things will factor in but there's no question in my mind it's going to happen. When it's going to happen, I don't know but I know it's going to happen. I feel good about that.
Amid the tough start and string of injuries, Jackson's faith in the players he's coaching hasn't wavered. The feeling is mutual from the players, as Pryor maintained the team must continue to trust the direction Jackson is steering them.
"I think once we finish one of these games it is really going to show everybody on the team that we can do this," tight end Gary Barnidge said. "We have already shown that we can stay with any team in the league and we can do it week in week out. Once we finish one of these everybody is really going to really see it happen and I think it is really going to buy in then."