Joe Haden: Browns have closed gap within AFC North

We definitely feel like [we’ve closed the gap within the AFC North]. We feel like we were in the division [games], but we were just a couple plays off. Now that we’ve beat Cincinnati and we’re coming off of this last week’s win, we just feel like there’s no reason why we can’t keep these wins coming. They’re a beatable team, they’re really talented though not to put anything past them, but everybody in the division is beatable. We just feel like our team is on the verge of being at the top. […] The (2-6) record is completely different than how we feel as a team. We know that our record could be so much better. A couple plays here, a couple plays there, but we’re starting to make those. We feel like we’re starting to make those and we’re starting to get over the hump. We’re starting to finally be a team that can go out and win consecutive games. Why not win three games in a row, four games in a row, just get on spurts and keep winning.

— Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden, Wednesday, as the team prepares to face the division-leading Baltimore Ravens at home.

[Related: Cleveland Browns Film Room: Game 8, 3rd and 1]

  • Shadow_play

    Love the enthusiasm and optimism but until we win at least half of our Divisional games I don’t think the gap has closed yet. Hell, just beat Pittsburgh or Baltimore once and then we can start talking about closing the gap.

  • Like Haden’s enthusiasm but it may be more a case of the rest of the division coming back to the Browns, rather than the Browns closing the gap.

    In any event, it’s all talk until the Browns go out and beat another division opponent. Getting it done this weekend would be a nice start.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Agree with Haden and the comments. He’s right the browns can beat anyone in the division, but they can beat us, too. They’ve regressed, we’ve improved, but we need to get to where we are the large favorite against them.

  • Allen P

    Pump the brakes there Joe. I like confidence, but I prefer it to be preceded by success.

  • maxfnmloans

    Like most others, love the enthusiasm. Also, love the fact that you can see the confidence building. That is always a good thing.

    Unfortunately, I think it’s more that the other 3 teams in our division are falling back towards us, as much as we are gaining on them. Either way, still progress, I guess, amirite?

  • BuckeyeDawg

    You’ve talked the talk. Now go walk the walk on Sunday.

  • Jared in LA

    One play “here or there” would’ve been nice, but Hayden was suspended those games we needed him to make that one play here or there. So that’s a bummer.

  • C-Bus Kevin

    This Briwns team is conceivably 2 catches away from a .500 record.
    1. LJ Fort against the Eagles
    2. Josh Gordon against the Colts

    I like the confidence from Joe. Now go do it. Division games are basically worth twice as much as non-divisional games. The time to “make the jump” is now.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    Not to get all philosophical on you, but does success breed confidence or does confidence breed success?

  • Garry_Owen

    I think it’s some of both. There’s no denying that Baltimore and Pittsburgh are declining a bit (Cincinnati is an enigma, as always); but there’s also no denying, at least in my mind, that the Browns are an improved team. This bodes well for us in the long run, I think. I hope.

  • Garry_Owen

    Not to mention that a big part of our close loss to the Ravens earlier this year is easily attributable to Haden being on the sideline. This Sunday could really be fun.
    Please, Browns?

  • TSR3000

    Heard all of this before. Just win the game. Period.

  • Dan Mercede

    I’ll take a split on all three division foes and say we have started to close the gap

  • maxfnmloans

    agreed. as with anything in life, the answer is usually more complex than it appears. We are moving in the right direction, until they can Heckert and bring in Mike Lombardi, that is.

    /rubs rabbit foot hoping Lombardi rumors are false

  • mgbode

    though having one certainly helps the other, you can certainly have either by themselves

  • Hypno_Toad

    We took the Ravens to the wire in Baltimore without Haden. Now with Haden and Taylor back who knows what happens here this week?

    If we win this game the optimism level among the fans is going to be at it’s highest since we crushed New England in 2010.

  • Based on Joe Haden’s Gap Closing Projections the Browns will become the world’s biggest economy by 2015.

  • Garry_Owen

    Now, the ghost of Vince Lombardi, on the other hand . . .

  • mgbode

    why, is The Gap the only bigger economy that we have to catch and closing some of their stores will allow us to pass them by?

  • Harv 21

    I see the future and it’s ugly.

    Browns start winning some games, finish with maybe 6 wins, are right there a play or two away in most of the others. Players start talking up the coach and about a system taking hold, Pat starts acting less defensive and more proud/relieved, warm fuzzies start percolating in the media, redemption story lines. And the drumbeat question to Banner: are you keeping Pat are you keeping Pat are you keeping Pat?

    Banner keeps Pat. Or fires Pat. Either way, WFNY explodes in anger.

  • I used to loathe mediocrity (the 6-8 win season). An argument could be said that there’s nothing worse in the NFL, since you don’t get a top 10 talent in the draft. Here though, we’ve got the building blocks already and so I’ll take the ugliness of mediocrity even if it means endless Shurmur debates. I’ve got to think that beyond the annoyance that it would cause us–someone like Banner already knows what he’s going to do with Shurmur. Or at least absent winning out, a 6-7 win season isn’t going to really change the debate all that much.

  • mgbode

    “Either way, WFNY explodes in anger.”

    pick any issue and this will happen to varying degrees. the hope is that the new management doesn’t care what happens here and elsewhere and only cares about finding the correct people to steer the ship for the next several seasons.

  • historycat

    Narrowed the gap, but closed it? Nope.

  • mgbode

    I think that’s true in other sports more than the NFL.

  • I don’t know. Cornerstone positions such as the “franchise QBs,” top flight CBs, premier LTs and DTs all go in the top 10. Hard to get up to snag one of those “difference maker” guys when you’re languishing in mediocrity. Optimistic as I may be, I think we’ve got those key pieces already.

  • mgbode

    you are much, much more likely to get those positions in the top10, sure.

    but, Rodgers/Brees/Brady (and Weeden!!!) are all outside that range and those are the top3 QBs in the NFL. just kidding on Weeden 🙂

  • Harv 21

    I also believe that Banner already knows what he’s going to do with the head coach. Not sure why, other than HC and GM will be his signature stamp on the org, and Banner strikes me as a confident guy who has put himself in a position to do things his way.

    I think Shurmur is gone and I don’t care that much. Just dread a switch back to the 3-4 defense. On offense the players who are keepers – Thomas, Mack, Schwartz, Weeden, Richardson and Gordon – can play in any system. But on defense we’d have to strip the roster again, look for nose tackles and toss virtually all the young, fast and light LBs out.

  • Harv 21

    nah, other than something outrageous (LeBron) this town explodes over Browns only. Big yawn when Acta was fired, big yawn when Mike Brown was fired, big yawn when John Hart left, small yawn when Byron was hired … This town would be incapable of Browns apathy even if they averaged 5 wins/year over 13 years. Wait …

  • Derek

    Not to mention Ray and Webb being out, and hopefully Ngata

  • curry1

    oh boy, start talking after the win, not before it.

  • And don’t forget Brady Quinn and Colt McCoy! Maybe, just maybe for once we get ourselves a late first round skill player gem in Weeden. Is that too much to hope for?

  • Crowsfoot

    This team won a terribly played game last week and people are all of a sudden thinking that we’re making progress ? Haden is no difference maker at all – just a totally overrated player who is making sure he is visible in the local scene and saying all of the right things to promote his image.

  • 5KMD

    “The (2-6) record is completely different than how we feel as a team. We know that our record could be so much better. A couple plays here, a couple plays there, (ME NOT DOING DRUGS!) but we’re starting to make those.”
    Finished it for him.

  • 5KMD

    That’s how it is supposed to work though. Good teams don’t get early picks for 5-6 years and they fall back. Bad teams get early picks and move forwad. Wash, rinse, repeat.
    Unfortunately, the bad teams are bad and the good teams are good because of their repective front offices.

  • Cool-Aid

    I Cant believe Joe said this we will be blown out this Sunday watch this team had the Gatorade swapped out with magic Cool-Aid 2-6 and talking trash lol only in C-town