ARCHDEA­CON: AM­PUTEE SOFT­BALL AIDS VET­ER­ANS

Dayton Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - By Nate Ul­rich

In the midst of Browns BEREA — play­ers claim­ing they’re con­tenders and rap­per Snoop Dogg jump­ing on the band­wagon this week, coach Hue Jack­son wants to en­sure his team won’t do some­thing crazy like al­low two wins to go to its head.

“We haven’t done any­thing,” Jack­son said Thurs­day af­ter the Browns (2-2-1) prac­ticed in prepa­ra­tion for Sun­day’s home game against the Los An­ge­les Charg­ers (3-2). “We haven’t qual­i­fied for any­thing. We have won two foot­ball games.

“We’re go­ing to keep this team grounded and work in how we go about our busi­ness. That’s what Cleve­land is about — peo­ple that work hard, earn what they get and get what they earn and keep find­ing ways to do it ev­ery day. That’s just who we’re go­ing to be.”

Jack­son stressed his play­ers can­not get caught up with the in­creased na­tional at­ten­tion they’re re­ceiv­ing.

“We haven’t played well enough to be like, ‘Man, we’re un­stop­pable,’ ” left guard JoelBi­to­nio said. “It’s not like we’re 5-0 right now or some­thing like that.

“Coach Jack­son isn’t go­ing to let us take any­thing for granted. He’s re­ally push­ing us at prac­tice, mak­ing sure we are fo­cused on the next op­po­nent.”

When a team dou­bles its win to­tal from the past two sea­sons through five games and could have eas­ily won more, it can’t hurt to re­mind every­one how to han­dle a bit of suc­cess.

“We haven’t ar­rived,” wide re­ceiver Jarvis Landry said. “We’ve got a lot of things to work on.”

Hon­or­ing a leg­end

The Browns will en­shrine the num­ber 10,363 in the Ring of Honor at FirstEn­ergy Sta­dium to honor re­tired left tackle Joe Thomas for his ca­reer and leg­endary snap streak. The num­ber will be un­veiled dur­ing a break in the first quar­ter.

“No­body else has ever played that many (con­sec­u­tive) snaps, and I don’t know if any­body else will do that again for a long time,” Jack­son said. “It just tells you how

con­tin­ued from C1 im­por­tant foot­ball was to him.

“What he’s done, the way he played, the way that he con­ducted him­self with class within this or­ga­ni­za­tion, the way he con­ducted him­self out in the com­mu­nity and all of the good things that he did for this foot­ball team will never be for­got­ten.”

Bi­to­nio hopes to go out to din­ner with Thomas on Sun­day to cel­e­brate the oc­ca­sion.

“I know he’s ex­cited for this event,” Bi­to­nio said. “He’s been talk­ing it up.”

As part of the cel­e­bra­tion, the Browns will give away 10,363 Thomas bob­ble­heads to fans af­ter gates open at 11 a.m. Sun­day.

Can­ton on his mind

Some­one asked Landry if mak­ing it to Can­ton has crossed his mind.

Landry said he started think­ing about the Pro Foot­ball Hall of Fame long be­fore mak­ing some no­table his­tory Sun­day. With five catches in a 12-9 over­time win over the Bal­ti­more Ravens, Landry passed Larry Fitzger­ald for the most catches in a player’s first five NFL sea­sons. Landry is at 429 with 11 games left in the reg­u­lar sea­son. Fitzger­ald made 426 his first five sea­sons.

“I de­cided a long time ago I wanted to be great,” Landry said. “One day, that’s ev­ery kid’s dream … to even­tu­ally make it to the Hall of Fame and be rec­og­nized for the guys that paved the way and did it be­fore us and to have an op­por­tu­nity to be there in his­tory. That’s for­ever. That’s def­i­nitely a goal of mine.”

Given his youth (Landry won’t turn 26 un­til Nov. 28), time to do much more is on his side. He will need to do much more to grow into a Hall of Fame can­di­date.

He has been a high-vol­ume re­cep­tions guy, av­er­ag­ing ex­actly 100 catches in his pre­vi­ous four sea­sons with the Mi­ami Dol­phins. His yardage and touch­down pro­duc­tion are less strik­ing. He has av­er­aged roughly 1,000 yards and 5.5 TDs per sea­son.

So far in 2018, he is av­er­ag­ing 13.1 yards per catch, on pace for a ca­reer best, but has just one touch­down.

Fitzger­ald, for ex­am­ple, never av­er­aged less than 13.4 yards a catch in his first five sea­sons, when he racked up 46 touch­downs.

Num­bers aside, Browns of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Todd Ha­ley said he sees Landry as an elite re­ceiver.

“(Landry’s) hands are up there with any of the great ones I’ve been around,” Ha­ley said. “In com­bat­ive catches, he’s up there with the Larry’s and the ABs.”

Ha­ley coached Fitzger­ald in Ari­zona and An­to­nio Brown (AB) in Pitts­burgh. He clearly likes Landry.

“The tighter it is, usu­ally, the greater stuff you’re go­ing to see from him,” Ha­ley said. “He has great fo­cus, great aware­ness.

“He’s able to block out any kind of hits com­ing from guys run­ning at him. Those 50-50 balls. I like our chances.”

Landry leads the Browns in catches with 29 (David Njoku is next with 20) and re­ceiv­ing yards with 381 (Rashard Hig­gins is next with 244).

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