Browns defensive back Jason McCourty has been one of his team's best players amid a winless season that's seen a young team struggle and shrink in pivotal moments.
But in recent weeks, the veteran McCourty has been hard on himself after back-to-back performances he didn't believe were up to par. A week after Chargers receiver Keenan Allen caught 10 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown, McCourty was his own biggest critic following Sunday's overtime loss to the Packers.
"If you don't play your best and you don't win the game, you're gonna feel terrible no matter what," McCourty said. "You're going to feel terrible after the game, after you watch the film, you'll say maybe it wasn't as bad, but you still feel bad because you didn't win the game."
McCourty was referencing a showing that saw the Browns surrender a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter and a career day from backup quarterback Brett Hundley, who chipped away at Cleveland's pass defense all afternoon. And as the Browns continue searching for their first win, he could find himself anchoring an injured secondary playing without Jabrill Peppers (knee) and Briean Boddy-Calhoun (knee), who both missed the Green Bay game. Jamar Taylor (foot) has yet to practice this week as well.
The good news for Cleveland is that McCourty has been a bright spot on and off the field after joining the team this past spring as something of a role player following eight years in Tennessee. He leads the team with three interceptions, 12 pass breakups and two forced fumbles in 11 games.
"I guess when I first got here, I told you guys I didn't have an expectation I didn't know what it was going to be, it was a new role for me coming to a new team," he said, adding, "At the end of the season, I'll look at that and evaluate it," he said, "but right now, production for me is based on wins and losses."
Personal accolades, McCourty said, don't mean much to him right now as Cleveland hopes to fend off a winless season.
"As a player, whenever you get a chance to go out there and you don't have your best game but your team's able to pull out the win, you can kind of correct those mistakes and have a better feeling about it," he said.
"But until we're on the other side of that, it's never going to be an OK feeling after the game."