By Chris Emma—
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) – Nobody in the NFL wants to be part of a team that loses to the winless Browns, an organization mired in dysfunction that has become a laughingstock around the league.
Entering their matchup against the Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday, the Browns are 0-14 and have won just one game since the start of the 2016 season. Their futility is a joking matter everywhere except in Cleveland and at Halas Hall, where the Bears are preparing for an opponent they can’t dismiss.
“They’re a talented football team,” Bears coach John Fox said of the Browns. “Been in a lot of games competitively.”
While the word talented can be disputed in relation to the Browns, every coach must put the spin on facing a winless team. The Bears aren’t that far off from the Browns, with their record at 4-10 on the season.
You better believe the Bears won’t disrespect their opponent for Sunday, if for no other reason than to avoid ignominy themselves. The Browns are trying to avoid becoming just the second team in NFL history to go 0-16.
“We won’t be that team,” defensive lineman Akiem Hicks said. “Simple as that. We won’t let that happen.”
While the Bears are favored against the Browns, that’s meant little in the John Fox era. In his three years leading the team, Chicago is 0-7 when entering the game as a favorite.
There’s a mutual understanding between the Bears and Browns, two teams in similar positions. Both have made recent habit of picking high in the draft, with Cleveland selecting first overall last April and Chicago initially slated with the third pick before trading up to second overall. These are two organizations looking to work up from the bottom of the standings and find success.
Bears rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky grew up down the road from Cleveland in the town of Mentor, though he considered himself only a “moderate” Browns fan that rooted for the hometown team.
When the thought of being the first team to lose against the Browns this season was mentioned, Trubisky deadpanned to the reporter.
“Is that another jinx?” he asked. “Oh, my gosh. I’m excited to get back on the field this week, no matter who it’s against. Just ready to get back for another win.”
Ultimately, the Bears are just in pursuit of their fifth victory of the season and 14th under Fox’s watch. Change seems likely at the end of a disappointing campaign. For now, their focus is on getting victories.
Young players like Trubisky are trying to establish a culture for their future – regardless of who’s coaching the team – and victories over any opponent are needed.
“The motivation is just to win,” Trubisky said. “We’ve got a bunch of competitors on our team and we’re trying to finish out our season strong. We don’t care who rolls in here. We get to play our last game at Soldier Field this year so that means a lot to us. We just want to go out and win.”