BEREA, Ohio -- For the second straight year, the Cleveland Browns find themselves winless at the quarter pole of the season and in last place in the AFC North Division after suffering losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals.
But rather than getting absorbed by the negativity surrounding a team that has gone 1-19 in its last 20 games after a 31-7 loss to the Bengals Sunday, head coach Hue Jackson believes the Browns will respond with a good week of practice ahead of this week’s game against the New York Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“Definitely not where we want to be; nowhere close to where we want to be,” Jackson said Monday. “Obviously, we have a lot of work to do, but that is what it was, a quarter of the season. We are 0-4 heading into our second quarter.”
Jackson went so far as to say the Browns are disappointed “not just for our players, but also, for our organization, for the fans and for everybody involved.”
“At the same time, we are not going to put our head down,” Jackson said. “We have dug this hole, so we have to climb our way out of it, and the only way you are going to climb your way out of it is by working.”
The Bengals converted 25 first downs to the Browns’ 16, converted six of their 11 attempts on third down (55 percent), conversely to Cleveland’s five-for-16 showing (31 percent), won the total yardage battle, 350 to 215, and held a 10-plus minute advantage in time of possession.
“I have total confidence in the men that are in that room,” Jackson said. “I have total confidence in our staff. This team won’t quit. I have never been a part of anything that has ever quit, and I won’t allow that. We are going to fight, and we have demonstrated that. Whether it was last year or whether it is into this year, I just think that is who we are and that is never going to change.
“We have a job to do. We have to do our job better. Like I said, the only guys that can change it are the guys that are in that room. We have to play better. We have to make sure we take care of the football. We have to do the fundamental things better. (Sunday) was -- I am going to say it again -- unacceptable for us. We have to get better.”
After the first installment of “The Battle of Ohio,” Bengals cornerback Adam Jones said Jackson could not win much of anything with the roster the Browns have put together over the last two years, which includes an 80-percent turnover from the end of the 2015 season until now.
According to Jackson, the Browns need to focus internally if they want to change the direction of the franchise.
“It is a performance business,” Jackson said. “We appreciate our fans being there. We know they pay hard-earned dollars to come watch us play. They deserve something better, and that is what we are going to set out to do.”