BEREA, Ohio—The Browns are in unfamiliar territory.
They are in first place in the AFC North and a Browns team hasn’t been in first place in their division since the 1994 season.
Mike Pettine said he didn’t have to spend much time talking to the team about being in first place.
“We talked about it briefly, but just still in the context of this is a big test for us and how we’re going to handle it,” Pettine said “There are no awards. There’s no prize for being 6–3. The only thing that’s done for us is our games are meaningful now. You still have to have the ability to put that one in a box and move onto the next one.
“It makes it a little more difficult because of what they’ve been hearing now for three or four days, but I didn’t have to hit them with a bunch of coach speak and all that,” he said. “I think this is a mature group that can handle it. It showed today in how they showed up and how they’ve worked in practice.”
Pettine said a lot of the players weren’t old enough to remember football, let alone the Browns in 1994. Pettine was asked if the players realize what they’ve accomplished, in terms of Browns history.
“They do,” he said. “I asked, I think it was (DB Robert) Nelson in the meeting how old he was. He was three or four I think, but again, I told them it doesn’t mean anything. We have the whole offseason to sit back and enjoy the better moments of the season, but once you’re in it you just have to press on. You’ve got to go to the next one. Learn from it - the good and the bad - and use it in the next one.”
Pettine has been receiving a lot of love nationally for helping to turn the Browns around, but he says it’s a team effort, as well as too premature.
“As part of the overreaction,” Pettine said laughing.”I’m smart enough to know that I’m a part of it, but it still falls back to me on the staff we were able to put together and the players we were able to bring in. Everybody is pulling the rope in the same direction. Since I’m at the head of it, I can see why that talk is there, but there’s no ’Nine-Game Coach of the Year.’ It’s at the end of the year. To me, those are all team awards when that happens, so I’m no different. It’s on to the next one.”
Cameron, Gipson Missing: The Browns started preparation for their home game with the Texans without TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) and DB Tashaun Gipson (concussion), neither were on the practice field during the open portion of practice.
“(Gipson) came back from the time off complaining of some headache issues,” Pettine said. “He said he thinks it occurred in the game, so we’re just going to follow the league’s protocol and have him evaluated.
“I don’t know what the result of the evaluation was, but we’ll have more information (Wednesday).”
Cameron has missed the last two games after suffering a concussion against the Raiders.
“He’s been okay for the past couple of days,” Pettine said. “He was here today. We’ll have a better sense (Wednesday) when he’s in the building.”
Taylor Sparks: DL Phil Taylor left the field late in the Bengals game and didn’t return. However, he was back at practice on Tuesday. Taylor was playing his first game since having arthroscopic injury on Oct. 8.
“I think getting Phil back was a good spark for us,” Pettine said. “He gave us some quality reps. He was very disruptive.”
Taylor had three tackles and a pass broken up.
“It was just an evaluation (process),” Pettine said. “We wanted to see Small and compare it to the body of work to Agnew and decided it was time to switch back.”
In addition, the Browns released DL Jacobbi McDaniel from the practice squad and signed DL Jamie Meders to the practice squad. Meders is from Valley Forge High School and Ashland University.
Haslam thanks Vets: Browns owner Jimmy Haslam was at practice and went individual to individual to thank each veteran that was invited to watch the Browns practice. All five branches of the armed forces were represented in Berea.
The Browns welcomed 75 military guests and the USO of Northern Ohio during Tuesday’s practice on Veterans Day.
The Browns will hold its Salute to Service game when the team hosts the Texans on Sunday as the game’s coin toss captain.