Browns prepare for big November game
NOV 11, 2013 1:05p ET
Captain D'Qwell Jackson, who's been around since 2006, said just ask the Browns fans if it's time.
"I think if you talk to the Cleveland community, they would say that 'It's time,'" Jackson said. "I definitely say it's time.
"We're in the middle of the pack," he said. "We haven't played a big game around here in a long time. All we can do is focus and prepare for Cincinnati and be ready. We definitely have our work cut out for us."
Phil Taylor says the Browns are ready.
"It's been a while since (there's been a meaningful game)," Taylor said. "Everybody's anxious around to get out there (and play the Bengals)."
T.J. Ward said the team is optimistic.
"We're very confident," he said. "(The win over) Baltimore was huge for us. Now, we get a chance to go get Cincinnati."
Taylor said he thinks the Browns are ready to step up and be noticed.
"People talk about Cleveland as the 'Mistake on the Lake'," he said. "We've been losing for a while. We need to win around here.
"We have a chance to sweep Cincinnati and show everyone that we're not the little brother anymore."
The Browns defeated the Bengals, 17-6, on Sept. 29 at FirstEnergy Stadium, as Brian Hoyer threw two touchdown passes.
Head coach Rob Chudzinski said he's not worried that the Browns are not ready for an important game.
"I don't see a difference in our guys," he said. "Our guys have seen they can play with anybody. They're excited about playing."
He said he's pleased the way the players have been able to focus on each week's game and not worry about talking about playoff possibilities.
"We've talked about what we can control," he said. "If you get caught up in (playoff) scenarios, you can take away from what you need to do."
The last time the Browns had a winning season was in 2007 when they finished 10-6 and in second place in the AFC North. However, the Browns missed out on the playoffs, largely due to a 19-14 loss to the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on Dec. 23, 2007. That season, the Browns were 5-4 after nine games. Other than that lone season, the Browns have been 4-5 once, 3-6 on seven occasions, 2-7 once and 1-8 once dating back to 2002, the only time they've made the playoffs since 1999. In 2002, the Browns had the same 4-5 record they currently have. They finished that season 9-7 and lost to the Steelers in the Wild Card game 36-33 in Pittsburgh.
The Browns can control their own destiny within the division. They are currently 2-1 in the AFC North with two games left with the Steelers, besides this week's contest with the Bengals. The last time the Browns were 2-1 in the division, was also in 2007. They finished 3-3 in the AFC North.
The Browns schedule for the remaining seven games is favorable with the combined records of the teams 30-34 (.469 pct.). They play the Bengals (6-4) in Cincinnati before returning to FirstEnergy Stadium to host the Steelers (3-6) and Jaguars (1-8) before traveling to New England (7-2). They return home to play the Bears (5-4) before finishing the regular season on the road against the Jets (5-4) and the Steelers (3-6).
After the Bengals overtime loss to the Ravens Sunday, the Browns can cut the Bengals' lead in the AFC North to just a half a game.
Chudzinski was the Browns offensive coordinator for the Browns in 2007 and still remembers that tough loss to the Bengals.
"It was a game we needed to win and weren't able to win," he said. "I remember it well. It was a big disappointment."
Chudzinski said he addressed the team coming back from the bye week and compared it to coming out in the second half of a game.
"It's a little past (the halfway mark of the season) and I liken it to halftime," he said. "We have to (go out and )play well in the second half (of the season)."
-- Chudzinksi said that QB Jason Campbell is rested and feeling good after bruising his ribs against the Ravens.
"He's good to go," he said. "He was full speed and he threw very well (in practice)."
Campbell is expected to make his third consecutive start at quarterback for the Browns Sunday against the Bengals.
Of the players currently on the 53-man roster, only TE MarQueis Gray (hamstring) did not practice Monday. He was on the stationary bike.
-- Chudzinski announced that LB Quentin Groves will be placed on season-ending injured reserve with an ankle injury. Groves played in five games with five tackles and two sacks.
Groves had a sack in the season opener against the Dolphins and then injured his left ankle in the second game of the season against the Ravens. After missing the next three games he returned on Oct. 13 against the Lions. He re-injured the ankle against the Packers on Oct. 20 and was inactive against the Chiefs. He returned against the Ravens and sacked QB Joe Flacco before hurting the ankle again.
"Quentin is a valuable leader," Chudzinski said. "Other guys are going to need to step up."
Groves was signed as an unrestricted free agent in the off-season and was voted as the Browns special team's captain.
-- Chudzinski said that WR/KR Travis Benjamin has not underwent surgery to repair his torn ACL as of yet. He said the surgery is set to take place this week.
-- LB D'Qwell Jackson took time to thank the veterans on Veteran's Day. "They put themselves in harm's way for us," he said. "My hat goes off to the veterans."
Jackson took a trip with other NFL players last March to visit the troops in the Middle East.
"To be around the troops and see what they do on a day-to-day basis (makes you appreciate them all the more)."
+ SHOW COMMENTS +