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BEREA Jim Brown Color Rush Jersey , Ohio (AP) — Their days as a pitiful punching bag appear to be over for the Browns. They’re swinging back, picking up wins and even attracting celebrities.On Wednesday, superstar rapper Snoop Dogg pulled up in his tour bus and made a surprise visit to practice.Bow wow!But while the Browns may have gone from being the NFL’s saddest team to one of this season’s biggest surprises, coach Hue Jackson warned his players that their fame can be fleeting.Beware of Snoop Dogg and others.“A lot of guys see him on the sideline, and his message was, ‘Man, you guys are doing some good things, some really good things.’ I thought that was great,” said Jackson, who has known the rapper since his days at USC. “At the same time, there are going to be a lot of people that want to come be on this wagon when the wagon gets rolling, and we are going to circle the wagon.“I know that because I did not see any of these people the last two years. I am still the same guy. I still knew all of these people prior to this year. We are not going to get caught up in any of that. Our players won’t, and that is my message to them. We are going to work, and we are going to continue to get better and see where we are.”Right now, the Browns believe they’re contenders.And their 12-9 overtime win against a solid Baltimore team on Sunday has the rest of the league looking differently at the Browns (2-2-1), who became just the second team to lose all 16 games last season. They’ve been competitive against a tough schedule, played in three OT games, and if not for a couple of bad bounces and breaks, could be unbeaten.“They were a scary team last year,” said Los Angeles Chargers coach Anthony Lynn, who will face the Browns on Sunday. “I know that they did not win a game, but you saw them on the come — you could see it coming. You knew that it was just a matter of time. They have done a good job. The personnel department and coaches, they have done a good job.”And, of course, the Browns have Baker Mayfield.The rookie quarterback has pumped life into Cleveland’s franchise and fan base. The only person not surprised by the Browns’ quick turnaround is the player most responsible for it happening“I have known that the Browns were not bad since the second I stepped foot into this franchise,” said the No. 1 overall pick, whose confidence is spreading through Cleveland’s locker room like a flu bug.“We had a special team from the get-go. We believe in this team that we have. Management has put together a great group of guys.”Mayfield was talking a big game long before the Browns picked him. Back at the NFL Combine in February, Mayfield said he was the man to change Cleveland’s fortunes. If any player was going to turn around a team that went 1-31 over two years, it was him.His opinion has changed.“I said it back at the Combine when everybody said I was a short quarterback that could not do much Jamie Collins Jersey , I said if anybody is going to do it, I believed in myself to do that,” he said. “That is something that I carry with me, and I hope our guys believed in themselves as well.”If there was any lingering doubt about Mayfield, he may have changed some minds with his performance in his second career start — and first at home — against the Ravens. He passed for 342 yards against one of the league’s stingiest defenses, and in the closing minutes of OT, began a drive at his 5 and moved the Browns into position for rookie Greg Joseph’s game-winning field goal.Big plays. Big player.“Man, I mean just a winner,” said Browns safety Damarious Randall. “That’s something that he’s always been at Oklahoma and just somebody that can overcome a lot of things. Because he was a walk-on twice and he ended up being the Heisman Trophy winner, so just to have a guy like that you just know that he’s always going to try to put the team in position to win game. You’ve just got to love it.”Randall knows what a good team looks like. He spent three seasons in Green Bay before coming to Cleveland in a trade.When he arrived the Browns had reached a low point. They’re rising quickly.“We feel like we’re a contender,” Randall said. “We feel like we’re one of the best teams up in the league.” CLEVELAND (AP) — Something shocking has happened to the Browns, those bumbling, fumbling, quarterback-searching, coach-firing, draft-busting losers.They've disappeared. Maybe gone for good."This is a new team," said center JC Tretter. "We had goals we came into the season with, and we're starting to show what we're capable of. Obviously, it's been a rough couple seasons for the Browns, but this team is a totally different team." Totally.With an impressive 35-20 victory at Cincinnati on Sunday, the Browns (4-6-1) not only ended their 25-game road losing streak — one shy of the NFL record, but they posted consecutive wins for the first time since 2014. Cleveland also broke a seven-game skid against the Bengals, exacted some revenge on former coach Hue Jackson for rejoining a division rival, and pushed itself into the AFC playoff conversation, albeit as a long shot.As November fades, the Browns feel they're getting stronger."Being in the hunt in December is all you can really ask for when you start the season," linebacker Joe Schobert said Monday. "Just to have meaningful games is big for the morale in the whole building, and as well as the fans and fan base that has been kind of starving for wins the last couple of years."To be able to put ourselves in position for that is just a sign of a step forward as this organization."The surge didn't seem possible a few weeks ago after Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley were fired following an Oct. 28 loss in Pittsburgh. The same ol' Browns were still sinking.But under interim coach Gregg Williams, and with running backs coach Freddie Kitchens calling plays better suited for Mayfield's strengths Christian Kirksey Color Rush Jersey , the Browns have turned around their season. They're 2-1 since Williams took over and there has been a noticeable change in the team's temperament. Penalties are down, the Browns are playing with a crispness and purpose, and they're backing up big talk with bigger actions.Tretter, who has played the past month despite a severely sprained ankle, said Williams' influence has been dramatic and decisive."Discipline has been great," he said. "It is something that we desperately needed. He has really reined everybody in and gotten everybody focused on one single goal. His leadership has been very strong. He fires up the team. He has that personality. Everybody knows that. He has just done a great job of really rallying the troops to one cause. You see that on Sundays."Tretter said Williams has placed a premium on attention to detail. He's holding players accountable for their mistakes and giving everyone clear expectations."They're spelled out for you, there's no confusion about what's going on," Tretter said. "Every meeting hits on the same points over and over again, where there's really no gray area of what's expected of each player on this team. That has really helped us take that next step."Obviously you always worry about that with a midseason transition, but Gregg's done a great job of rallying the troops and getting everybody on the same page."Williams will interview for Cleveland's full-time job when the season ends, and while his resume gets a boost every time the Browns play well, his chances of being hired seem remote.However, as long as the Browns keep winning and Mayfield continues progressing, Williams' stock will rise.The 60-year-old's powerful personality has also rubbed off on his players, who didn't miss a chance Sunday to get in their shots at Jackson, whether it was safety Damarious Randall handing the former coach the ball after an interception, or Mayfield giving him a cold shoulder following Cleveland's win.Williams said he's just being himself, and downplayed his impact as a disciplinarian."I do not want to overblow it at all — I say what I mean and I mean what I say," Williams said. "It is about being on time, doing things the right way, not doing things halfway and doing things all of the way. Ability alone does not win at this level. You have to go above and beyond."Williams had been reluctant to mention any playoff possibilities, but last week used the postseason prize as a motivator to reinforce a bigger message: The Browns can make this season special."You are starting to see a team that everybody in this building knew was here," Tretter said. "We do understand that if we do take it one game at a time and everything goes our way, there is an opportunity to keep playing football games into January and into February, but that is something that we can't look too far ahead on right now."NOTES: Williams reported no major injuries from Sunday's win. … Williams said he "can't keep up with my texts and my voicemails" from friends and colleagues around the league who are impressed with the Browns. "It is not going unnoticed," he said.
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