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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).