The Cleveland Browns are fortunate to have won the offseason Super Bowl back in March, because they are damn near eliminated from consideration at the midway point of, you know, the actual season. Riding a four-game losing streak, they are now 2-6 on the year, in a worse spot than they were a season ago at this time.
Cleveland was 2-6-1 in its first nine games a year ago before finishing the season on a 5-2 run, inspiring hope around the season, a hope only bolstered by the acquisition of players like Odell Beckham, Jr., Olivier Vernon, and Sheldon Richardson, coupled with the natural development of their young players like Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward, and Myles Garrett.
But at this point they are just hoping to avoid yet another losing season, and they will have to go 6-2 over the course of the second half of the season in order to do that. Do they believe that they can? Safety Morgan Burnett—who was with the Pittsburgh Steelers last year—didn’t quite say that, but he wasn’t throwing the baby out with the bath water, either.
“You can’t sit back and panic or anything because we still have a lot of football left”, he told the team’s website. “I think the biggest thing we have to do is stay together”. The Steelers were a team that got off to a rough start last year before going on an impressive midseason run, so he knows what it’s like to turn things around…of course, that didn’t quite end so well.
“It’s not like one person is by himself”, he said in talking about the bond shared in the locker room. “We’re all in it together, we’re going to go through it together. I think you see a person’s character when you’re going through adversity. I think we’ve got a lot of great men with good character in this locker room”.
Of course, it’s not as though he can really afford to say that there are negative influences in the locker room, if that were the case. Frankly, the Steelers have had that in their own locker room, but never said it until that influence was removed. Even with a guy like LeGarrette Blount, we didn’t hear that until he was gone.
The Browns will actually face the Steelers twice over the course of the next month, which should be interesting. It will be the second time that Mason Rudolph has gone up against one of the five quarterbacks drafted ahead of him, the first being Lamar Jackson with the Baltimore Ravens.