Odell Beckham Jr. played the role of the wise veteran after Sunday night's tough loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
While head coach Freddie Kitchens accepted blame for play-calling questions and the rest focused on improving while moving ahead, Beckham lauded the loss for the morale boost it could potentially provide to the 1-2 Browns.
"We didn't make enough plays to win the game," Beckham said afterward. "We're going against the team that was just in the Super Bowl last year so we're going against a team that is very experienced and knows how to play this game. Not to say we don't, but it's a grit game early in the season.
"You never want to have any loss and you never accept any loss, but that's a good, hard lesson to learn early in the season that will help up later in the season when we have tougher games like that. They made more plays today, and we just have to get better."
Check out photos of the Browns in action against the Rams on Sunday Night Football
It's a similar line that you'll hear in most postgame press conferences following a loss: We have to check the tape and correct it, and we'll get better. Sometimes, it sounds too simple. But this Browns team, as battered and bruised as it was entering Sunday night without more than a handful of key players on both sides of the ball, ended up with a chance to tie the game in the final minute. They were 4 yards and an extra point from sending a primetime game against the defending NFC champions into overtime.
That has to put some wind behind their sails moving forward, even if they are 0-2 at home in 2019.
The next step, as these players receive treatment and nurse their bruises from a tightly contested Sunday night affair, is to review the film and see what could have gone better. It's a painful part of the in-season process, but a necessary one in order to improve.
The positives: The defense played well above its head and, while it gave up 345 net yards of offense to the Rams, kept the Browns in the game to the very end. The negative: The offense, which amassed 270 total yards and went 6-for-16 on third down, still isn't cruising as it was expected to when general manager John Dorsey assembled this roster in the offseason.
Head coach Freddie Kitchens accepted blame for the failure to score late and the offense's continued struggles. That type of leadership is why he earned the opportunity to ascend from position coach to interim offensive coordinator to head coach in a short amount of time. But it will also require the team to improve, something Beckham is confident we'll see come to fruition in the weeks ahead.
"We have nothing but support for Coach Freddie (Kitchens)," Beckham said. "He has done a phenomenal job. We just have to take a look at the film to see it. It is a good lesson for us to learn now, and now we know when we are in these kind of games what necessarily we need to do. I think that will be very good for this team."
The Browns will undoubtedly find themselves in some tight games in the near future. In a league built on parity, close contests should be expected, especially for a team with a tough schedule and playoff aspirations. Eventually, the hope is that the talent on the offensive side of the ball will produce more points, not the turnover that ended the Browns' chances Sunday night.
Part of that gradual improvement is simply establishing familiarity amongst each other. This team is just three weeks into what's really its first season spent together. It showed when the Rams, who have been together for deep postseason runs in the past, managed to stand firm in the shadow of their own goal post. But as each week passes, these players will grow more comfortable. That was Beckham's point of emphasis moving forward. The term "moral victory" was not used, understandably, but there are positives to be gained.
"It is still early. It's the third week of the season," Beckham said. "This is a new team that has been put together so we are still trying to find ourselves and find our pieces. Right now, what I do know is that this team has heart, and is going to fight and fight to the end of every single game. That is all you can ask for now."