BEREA—If “almost wins” counted as victories for the Browns, things would be quite a bit different in Cleveland.
With an overtime loss on Sunday and a last-second loss to the San Diego Chargers two weeks earlier, the Browns would boast a 4-2 record if “almost wins” were a tangible stat.
As Browns head coach Mike Pettine was quick to point out, however, “almost wins” are hypotheticals and hypotheticals, by nature, are not grounded in reality.
“Almost winning is called losing,” Pettine said. “We're in this business to win.”
The reality for the Browns is that they currently sit at 2-4 on the season and have yet to face the most difficult portion of their schedule.
Despite the harsh realities ahead, the Browns have no choice but to look forward.
“We can’t do anything about yesterday now,” receiver Andrew Hawkins said. “That energy is better used toward focusing on next week.”
The Browns may not be able to change the past, but they feel as though there are things they can look back upon to help them in their future endeavors.
For instance, quarterback Josh McCown found some positive plays that the Browns made against the lauded Broncos defense that can certainly help the team this week and beyond.
“We look at the tape, you look at it today and you go, man, there’s some really good things on there that we did,” McCown said. “If that’s the number one defense, I feel like we can certainly build on some of those positive things, for sure.”
The Browns offense showed signs of success against the league’s best defensive unit, but McCown said too that some of the mistakes made had nothing to do with Denver.
“Some of those things, as good as they were, some of the mistakes were a product of our execution,” McCown said. “It’s one guy here, one guy there. so we’ve got to continue to do that as a group, just everybody tightening that up.”
The Browns offense wasn’t the only facet that needed tightening up on Sunday.
The defense, which managed to intercept Peyton Manning three times on the afternoon, is still struggling to find a solution to the problems plaguing the run defense.
Linebacker Karlos Dansby, however, seems to have an idea about where the issues start.
“Technique issues and different guys,” Dansby said. “That is the reason.”
With the cause of the rampant run defense issues becoming clearer, Dansby believes that the results will speak for themselves if the defense continues to work on it.
“It is something we have to put some emphasis on in order to win,” Dansby said. “We just have to continue to work. This thing isn’t going to happen overnight. You have to work on it to be great.”
As the offense works on minor tweaks and the defense continues to toil on tackling the running back, can the team get things together in time to salvage this season.
Pettine believes they’re close enough, and tough enough,
“Nobody is hitting the panic button, guys realize how close we are,” Pettine said. “It's a resilient group and I think we've proved that over time, that it's a resilient group.”
Pettine’s veterans certainly embodied his words with their thoughts.
“We can turn this thing around,” Dansby said. “We have to dig deep. There’s a lot of football to play.”
McCown too trusts in the turnaround.
“It’ll turn,” McCown said. “You just got to stay the course.”
Though he's convinced the Browns will turnaround, he knows too that there's a lot of football left to play and amidst the remaining journey, things will not be easy.
"We got 10 more games," McCown said. "Part of playing this position and life in general is to be able to move past mistakes and to have the wherewithal and the mental toughness to do that, so that’ll be our focus moving forward."
For all of your Browns news and updates from Berea, follow Hayden Grove on Twitter: @H_Grove.