CLEVELAND -- There is no hiding behind bright spots for the Cleveland Browns.
Including last Sunday’s 31-20 loss to Washington at FedEx Field, the Browns dropped to 0-4 with three straight games being decided in the fourth quarter or overtime, and they remain the only team in the National Football League without a victory.
“We have earned what we have,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “We are an 0-4 football team. We understand that. Our guys still continued to fight extremely hard. Our lesson to take away from (Sunday’s) game is turnovers. It is something that I have talked about since the day I walked in here. We have to make sure we take care of the ball, and we have to get the ball away from the other team.”
In taking over a Browns team that won just three of their last 21 games heading into the 2016 season and retooling a roster full of aging veterans with high salaries and replacing those players with more than two dozen rookies, Jackson knew the rebuilding process would be tough.
However, it has caught him by surprise.
“I didn’t think it would be this difficult,” Jackson said. “It is tough, but I’m seeing a lot of the young guys improve. We are just not seeing what I want to see and what the team wants to see on the other side of the ledger. We think we have been there for the last three weeks.
“The good thing is our guys are fighting hard and putting themselves in position for a chance to win. The bad part of that is we are doing things that you have to improve at to win in the National Football League. Whether it is turnovers or a mistake here or mistake there, those are the things that do get you beat. We have to continue to learn and grow from these things so that we can get better.”
But being 0-4 after three close losses will not distract from the Browns’ preparations for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Along with taking better care of the football after the three-turnover performance in the loss to Washington and rebuilding an offensive line that has been ravaged by injuries at the center position, the Browns are putting their focus squarely on learning from the losses and turning those close games into victories.
“We still have some work to do,” Jackson said. “We understand that. Our guys are more determined than ever. Just seeing them and talking to them, nobody is going to back down from the challenge. We understand the hole we have dug ourselves, but we know how to get out of it.
“We just have to keep working at it and continue to improve. To a man, everybody walks in this building ready to go. We are not going to blink, but we understand where we are and I do too, so we are going to fight our way out of it.”