BEREA, Ohio — The national media has termed games like this Sunday’s matchup with the Browns and the winless Jaguars as a ‘trap’ game for the Browns.
In 2013, the Browns were 3-2–the same record they have in 2014 after five games–and they lost 10 of their final 11 games to finish 4-12.
Mike Pettine said this week’s game will measure the maturity of the team.
"This weekend, will be as big a test of that maturity and that focus as we’ve had to date."
Pettine was asked why he felt that was the case.
"Just all of the circumstances," Pettine said. "What we’re trying to overcome with the two man change in the offensive line (with the loss of Alex Mack). Overcoming the loss of Armonty Bryant (knee surgery) and going on the road where we haven’t started games well.
"All of the circumstances concerning Jacksonville that this is a better team than what their record shows," he continued. "They’re hungry. They’re competitive. They’re prideful. Were going to get their best shot. There are reasons out there that people are saying this is the finally the week for Jacksonville.
"All of the circumstances that would say this is a trap game and I think as a staff, we’re just as curious to see," he said. "We’ll talk about it all week, but we’re curious to see how we’ll come out of the gate, as well.
Although he was not the coach last season, Pettine was asked what is different about this year’s team.
"I think it obviously, starts with (Donte) Whitner and (Karlos) Dansby on defense, they do a real good job with young guys," he said. "Overall, I think this is a very mature team that understands the overreactions we talk about. They know we’re no where near where we need to be, just based on when we watch our tape, not playing up to our standards at a consistent level."
Pettine said the players can tell just by watching game film they have to get better.
"And then watching our opponent and watching the opponent tape and knowing the National Football League," Pettine said. "There’s no one dominant team. You just can’t mail in any performance in this league and I think we’re mature enough, but having those guys defensively, helps us.
"Offensively, having the offensive line as a unit," he said. "I think now Brian (Hoyer), as he’s established himself as the full time starter and as his confidence grows each week that he does a good job of being the voice on that side of the ball."
Pettine did admit that having leadership at quarterback with a veteran presence is helpful.
"I’d agree with that because that’s the natural position of leadership," Pettine said. "It comes with the position, but it’s not a requirement. You can get by without it, but it comes with the job."
Pettine said he feels the Browns will be able to handle the obstacles presented to them.
"We’re hopeful and confident that we’ll handle it the right way," Pettine said. "This is a big test for us."