Brown Understands Adversity

Sheldon Brown, a nine-year pro, has been down the 0-2 road before and he is embracing his role as a veteran and leader within the Browns locker room.

Sheldon Brown, a veteran cornerback who played eight seasons for the Eagles, is trying to change the culture in the Browns locker room.

The Browns had high hopes for 2010, but their season has started with a loud thud by losing to the Bucs in Tampa and the Chiefs at home. Their next chance to get into the win column comes Sunday when they face the Ravens in Baltimore.

"Everybody needs to be perfect, especially when you have aspirations of being a playoff contender and being an excellent team," said Brown, who with the Eagles was in the playoffs six times. "We know you don't play perfect games, but that's what you strive to do. When you make so many mistakes it pushes you that far away from where you want to be."

The Browns have committed 14 penalties and turned the ball over five times in the first two games. Last year they averaged fewer than five penalties a game.

Brown said when he was a rookie with the Eagles veterans taught him what it takes to win and he is trying to pass that on to some of the younger Browns.

"I've been down this road of adversity before," Brown said. "I understand how to overcome it. There's no better feeling that when you do overcome it and you start to see everybody doing things the right way."

Only 12 of the 53 players on the roster were on the team when the Browns had their last winning season (10-6) in 2007.

"We preach it and talk about it -- there always has to be a sense of urgency," Brown said. "You always have to be conscious of the little things. It might sound crazy, but like parking in the wrong (not designated for players) spot could be big. Something minute like that carries over and affects the big picture.

"During the course of a game you have nine penalties. Some were aggressive penalties. Some you have to be smart. If it hurts you those are big plays. You can never leave a game in officials' hands. You have to dominate. When you're a young guy you have to learn that. It doesn't take long to learn. Guys are listening, but we still have some things to clean up."

The Browns haven't scored a point in the second half this season and now they have to face a defense that hasn't allowed a touchdown in 2010. The Jets scored three field goals and the Bengals five field goals on the Ravens.

Coach Eric Mangini does not want his team to go for broke. An interception Jake Delhomme threw in the opener was returned by Ronde Barber 64 yards to the Browns' 3. A pick Seneca Wallace threw against the Chiefs was returned for a touchdown.

After each game the offending quarterback said the pass should not have been thrown.

"You don't want anybody feeling like they have to make a play, because often times when you're trying to make a play you do, but it's a play for your opponent," Mangini said. "You have to take what's there. When you take your chances, you want to put the ball in a place where your guy has a chance and their guy doesn't."

Wallace will likely start against the Ravens because Delhomme is still nursing an ankle injury.

SERIES HISTORY: 23rd meeting. Ravens lead regular-season series, 15-7. The Browns didn't score a touchdown in two games against the Ravens last year. Brady Quinn was benched at halftime of a 34-3 route in the third game. It didn't matter. Derek Anderson was the QB two months later in a 16-0 shutout in Cleveland.


--If the Browns franchise had never moved to Baltimore and everything else unfolded as it has, Ray Lewis would be the starting inside linebacker for the Browns.

The Ravens took Lewis in the first round of the 1996 draft. That was the first season of three years there was no Browns franchise in Cleveland. This is the 12th season the Browns have been back.

The longest-tenured first round pick by the Browns still with Cleveland is left tackle Joe Thomas. He was drafted in 2007 -- 11 years after the Ravens took Lewis.

--The last time the Browns beat the Ravens they needed an understanding replay official to do it. On Nov. 18, 2007, a 51-yard field goal attempt by Phil Dawson at the end of regulation appeared to hit the crossbar and bounce back toward the field. In reality, the ball cleared the crossbar, hit the support behind it and then bounced back onto the field.

Ravens players raced to the locker room after officials signaled the kick attempt to tie the game 30-30 was no good, but after a lengthy discussion among officials the original call was overturned. The Browns won in overtime on a 33-yard field goal by Dawson.

Dawson's kick in regulation was the impetus for a rule change. Place kicks can now be reviewed, but only to determine whether they cleared the crossbar -- not to learn whether they are inside the uprights.

--Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff kicked for the Browns for five games last season while Dawson recovered from an injured calf muscle. Cundiff was six for six on field goal tries.

--Former Browns general manager George Kokinis, who spent most of his career with the Ravens before being hired by the Browns, is back with the Ravens in their personnel department. Kokinis was fired by the Browns less than one year on the job.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2-10 -- The Browns' record in the AFC North over the last two seasons. They open their 2010 division schedule Sunday in Baltimore.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We could have easily won these last two games, but we realize that we lost them. We need to come in the film room and come together and make something work." -- Running back Peyton Hillis on the Browns' 0-2 start.

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