There's no place like home for a Browns team that believes it's building a legitimate home-field advantage.
Off to its best start since 2014 and undefeated within the friendly confines at FirstEnergy Stadium thus far, Cleveland will look to give its fans more to cheer about this weekend against the Chargers.
“That is what we’re hoping for. I touched on it a little bit after the game. We feed off of the crowd’s energy. Our defense does as well,” rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield said. “I think that we need to continue that, and this needs to be a place that people need to fear coming to play.”
While the Browns still have their work cut out for them in that regard, Cleveland has managed to use the comforts of home to its advantage in two wins — including this past weekend's triumph over the Baltimore Ravens — and a tie against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“The fans have been a big help. They have been really loud when the other team has the ball. When it is crucial time, they get really loud. I kind of had a feeling about of how Ohio fans can really be at football games from Ohio State,” said fifth-year running back Carlos Hyde, who starred for the Buckeyes not too long ago.
“They get really loud, and the defense can feed off of that and everybody in the building can feed off of that except for the other teams. They don’t want it to be like that. The fans have been doing a hell of a job during home games.”
Cleveland’s defense, meanwhile, channeled that energy into another impressive performance, holding Baltimore to three field goals while forcing two turnovers. Middle linebacker Joe Schobert said he notices the crowd’s presence when “I have to look over at sideline for signals instead of getting the headset communication on defense all of the time.”
“It definitely has an added advantage,” he continued. “Just a loud crowd. Everybody there – the energy that’s just in the stadium definitely just been a little bit uptick this year.”
In the process, the Browns hope to keep giving their fans something to be excited about after two dismal seasons.
“The atmosphere is night and day from last year. The crowd is very into the game, especially on defense," defensive end Myles Garrett said.
"They're thrilled when we're out there making plays and forcing turnovers. We are glad that all of us can be a force together.”