There were always going to be doubters. And then there were also the few people who stated early in the season that the Cleveland Browns could find themselves in a position to make a push for the playoffs. Well, it seems they were right. The team has impressed even the biggest skeptics by making such a significant turnaround since their last two embarrassing seasons. Let’s remember though, that while it is possible that Cleveland makes the playoffs, the odds are still slim. But even with steep playoff odds, the Browns remain motivated.
Even with Steep Playoff Odds, the Browns Remain Motivated
The math has been done. Let’s be realistic. The scenario where Cleveland becomes playoff-bound is still in play. But the scenario is also full of specifics that will be less likely to occur than Chomps winning the lottery. Ok, not quite, but you get the picture.
What Needs to Happen
The Miami Dolphins need to lose a game. The Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans must lose this week and tie next week. Sounds simple, but no matter how you look at it, the precise occurrence of these events is relatively unlikely.
There’s Too Much Momentum to Stop Now
The Browns are very aware of their reality. They know their chances are slim, but as Jimmy Watkins of clevelandbrowns.com said: “They’ve developed too much positive momentum to let outside factors influence their drive to win.” In the same article, safety Jabrill Peppers laid the cards on the table as they face the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday. “It’s an AFC North rivalry. Especially how things went up there last (time), we definitely want to let them know that it wasn’t just a fluke. This is what it’s going to be”.
The Browns 35-20 thrashing of Cincinnati was certainly their most impressive victory in recent weeks. At the time, thoughts of reaching the playoffs were tantalizing.
It’s No Longer About the Draft
Now with a more realistic picture, albeit still pleasing, any wins Cleveland has will simply make fans happy. There will be so much hope for the future as they head into the next season.
The very big difference? Draft position isn’t nearly as important as it has been for… oh, so long. This is why the recent stretch of wins has been special. Head coach Gregg Williams is also confident he needn’t worry about his players’ motivations. He was succinct in stating exactly what he would do if he ever suspected a player of not being motivated at this stage: “If motivation becomes a factor… recommend to the people upstairs that that guy does not belong”.
Meanwhile, perhaps sharing the sentiments of the entire team, Peppers believes having a winning record is something they can control. “That’s my main focus”, he said. “If making the playoffs happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it gives us good stepping stools to go into the next year”.
And that’s much more than anyone could’ve hoped for.