When Jason McCourty joined the Browns this past spring, he spoke of a culture and team heading in the right direction.
Despite a frustrating 0-4 start, that hasn't changed. The veteran cornerback said there's no quit in the league's youngest team despite early and sometimes self-inflicted adversity.
"I don't think there's ever a lack of motivation from guys. You play this game to win it, but you also play this game because you love it," he said Wednesday. "You play it because you have been battling with your guys next to you since April 17 and you still want to go out and play hard for that guy. We are not where we want to be after the first quarter of the season, but we have three more quarters to go."
That's been Cleveland's approach as it searches for its first victory of the season with a home game against the Jets this weekend. Filled with new starters and new faces on both sides of the ball, the Browns have experienced highs and lows throughout the first month of the season. The lowest point of that span was, perhaps, Sunday's loss to the Bengals in which they were nearly shutout.
"We got our [butt] kicked," rookie safety Jabrill Peppers said. "Besides that, we have to play better, especially at home. You can't let any team, another man, come in your house and have his way with you, so that's our biggest takeaway. We have to capitalize when we can and make the plays that we need to make when we can."
Still, McCourty echoed head coach Hue Jackson's comments from earlier in the week and expressed optimism in regards to the future.
"I have total confidence in the men that are in that room. I have total confidence in our staff. This team won't quit," Jackson said Monday. "I have never been a part of anything that has ever quit, and I won't allow that. We are going to fight and we have demonstrated that."
To illustrate that, McCourty pointed to his 2009 rookie season with the Titans in which the team began 0-6 (including a 59-0 loss to the Patriots) before winning eight of their final 10 games. His takeaway from that experience? "Just keep playing football."
As such, the Browns believe they control their own fate.
"It's up to us," McCourty said. "I said it Sunday, it's up to us to dictate how those quarters end up."