2. Veteran Leadership
For so long in Cleveland, it seems like veteran players have come here to cash checks on their way out of the league, but the culture is changing due to new leadership from established veterans. Joe Thomas and Joe Haden, two players who have been in Cleveland their entire NFL careers and played at an elite level, are tired of losing and are leading by example with their play on the field and voices in the locker room. Karlos Dansby and Donte Whitner are each in their second season in Cleveland, and have added experience and wisdom to a team that for many years had lacked a winning culture.
Whitner in particular knows how bad Cleveland wants a winner, having grown up and playing high school ball at Glenville, and has been instrumental in demanding more from his teammates. Another under-the-radar veteran leader is Josh McCown. He may be seen as just a backup journeyman quarterback, but he came here to be a mentor to Johnny Manziel and do whatever the coaching staff asks of him. His professional attitude and willingness to do whatever he can to help the team is a breath of fresh air in a city where every year there seems to be controversy at the quarterback position.