CLEVELAND -- When changes are made, things are bound to get worse before they get better.
The old adage holds true in many respects, including in the National Football League, and perhaps no one knows that better than the Cleveland Browns, who dropped to a league-worst 0-9 with a 35-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday.
“Every loss, it stacks up,” nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas said. “Makes it tougher because in the end, you have to remain positive. You have to try to get yourself ready for a game and the best way to do that is to remain positive. It definitely gets harder every time you lose.”
The Browns embarked on a rebuilding process when they fired coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer after last year’s season-ending loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but optimism was high when they hired Hue Jackson to take over the coaching duties.
However, the Browns’ new front office relished a youth movement, and success has been hard to come back with more than two dozen players that have less than three years of NFL experience.
“We just have to keep going,” wide receiver Terrelle Pryor said. “That’s a good football team. That’s probably the best team we’ve played from the offensive side of the ball.
“What makes that team so good, whenever you catch the ball, they have 11 people running at you. They have a great defense. It’s not like they have any great players, but they play well together, and they are all in.”
Although the Browns were close in four of their losses, they have surrendered 28 or more points in five straight games, and at least 31 points in four of the last five outings, including three consecutive contests.
Defensively, the Browns rank near the bottom of the league in key statistical categories. They have surrendered an average of 30.3 points (31st), 421.7 yards (31st) and 146.4 rushing yards (31st) through the first nine games of the season.
But the Browns refuse to use anything as an excuse heading into Thursday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.
“It is your job, and your job is to perform as well as you can on Sundays,” Thomas said. “In the end, you are going to do it. You can’t look at the record or dwell on the losses, but it does get harder. In the end, we are going to be able to move past that and focus on doing what you can to try to get a win the next week.”