Thomas: There's A "Different Feeling" In Cleveland

The narrative has changed in Cleveland, Joe Thomas said, and Baker Mayfield and the defense are big reasons why

Tiki and Tierney
September 27, 2018 - 5:59 pm

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The Cleveland Browns are 1-1-1 on the season, but they could easily be 3-0. They tied the Steelers in Week 1 and lost to the Saints in New Orleans by a field goal in Week 2 – despite missing two field goals and two extra points.

If you’re surprised by how competitive the Browns have been this season, well, you shouldn’t be. Joe Thomas sure isn’t.

“I had the Browns at 8-8 in the offseason when I started looking at all of the awesome moves that they made and some of the great picks that they drafted,” the seven-time All-Pro said on Tiki and Tierney. “But the big surprise for me is how well their defense has played. We knew they were going to have a good run defense, but their secondary has played so well defending the pass, and they’re getting turnovers at an incredible rate right now. 

“They’re really going to be a tough out for anybody,” Thomas continued. “I don’t care who you are. I don’t care if you’re the Rams or some of these high-flying offenses. If you come to Cleveland or if you’re going to play the Browns, you’re going to have a tough day because of how great that defense is and how they take the ball away.”

The Browns, in fact, lead the league in turnover differential at plus-9. Miami and Carolina are tied for second at plus-4.

As well as the defense has played, though, Baker Mayfield is the talk of the town. The No. 1 overall pick rescued the Browns from the depths against the Jets in Week 3, going 17-of-23 for 201 yards in a 21-17 win.

It was Cleveland’s first win since Dec. 24, 2016.

“There’s almost a feeling right now in Cleveland and in that franchise that they finally got over the hump,” Thomas said. “Yeah, it was only one win, but it came at the right time because they really needed that. Otherwise you’re looking at a season where you’re going into Week 4 and you don’t have a win yet and you’re starting to think about all of the bad seasons that have come before. But I think the narrative is a little bit different and the feeling is a little bit different right now sitting at .500 – which is a little bit weird after three games to be 1-1-1. But I think there’s just a different feeling, especially with the optimism around how well Baker played and the hope that he can continue that.”

The Browns will go for their second win this Sunday in Oakland (0-3). Kickoff is at 4:05 p.m. ET.

Thomas, a 10-time All-Pro for the Cleveland Browns and the 2006 Outland Trophy winner for college football’s best interior lineman while at the University of Wisconsin, is the 2018 Outland Trophy Ambassador and, specifically, their #FightFlu Public Awareness Campaign with the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.  Joe wants to remind everyone that it’s flu season and the first line of protection to avoid the flu is to get your flu shot.