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Mike Pettine, Browns preparing for opener against the Jets a little differently

Week 1 in the NFL is as captivating as sports gets.

Every year, a handful of teams start hot right out of the gate and ride the unexpected surge into meaningful December football – and sometimes the playoffs.

While Cleveland's coach Mike Pettine didn't give an elaborate slideshow presentation on the Jets like he did one year ago for the opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Browns are not downplaying the fact they'll put more energy and preparation into Week 1 than any other game all regular season.

"It's not like a normal game week where you have six days to prepare for it," Pettine said. "It'll be 257 days to prepare for this one. Whenever in April that we found out the schedule, that we've known it's them, we've had time to prepare for it.

"That's why I just think there's so much more put into it. The Jets game, the Jets game, the Jets game that's why you feel great about it when you win it and it's just such disappointment because you prepared so much for it when you lose."

Week 1 in 2015 for the Browns is also fascinating because the Jets are nearly a mirror image.

Both teams have journeymen, yet respected leaders at quarterback in Josh McCown and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Both have secondaries that are arguably in the top three of the NFL. Both will rely on the running game throughout the season, even with a lightly tested stable of running backs. Both are led by bright, defensive-minded head coaches, deadset on fixing the culture of two historic NFL franchises.


"I have known (Jets Head Coach) Todd (Bowles) for a while," Pettine said. "Very well-respected in the league. You can already tell in the short time that his team has been out there in the preseason that they are very organized, well-coached.

"Defensively, I think we are very similar based on corner play and being aggressive up front. Diverse blitz packages. We very much have the same mentality as far as defensive football. In a lot of senses, it will be like looking in the mirror."

So what is the Browns' strategy this Sunday against the Jets?

A year ago to open the season at Heinz Field, the team tried to shock the world, courageously rallying from 21 points down at halftime to tie the score before ultimately losing.

There is no "stun the league" message this week from Pettine to his players. No, in Year 2 under Cleveland's head coach, this football team knows its own potential.

"We're very much focused on ourselves this week," Pettine said. "Like in most weeks, we feel if we go out and we play to our standards, the high standards that we've set for our guys, that we can be successful.

"This week is very much – the theme's been 'Hey, let's control what we can control' and that's how we coach and how we play."

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