BEREA, Ohio -- The optimism machine is in overdrive for the 2019 Cleveland Browns, and none of the principals involved are hiding from it.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield said Wednesday night that the hype about 2019 is warranted, and the team's new coordinators both said they chose to come to Cleveland because of the Browns' situation.
"This was the first place I wanted to come," defensive coordinator Steve Wilks said Thursday.
"It just felt right," offensive coordinator Todd Monken said. "I felt like I wanted to be a part of this moving forward."
Mayfield's attitude about the upcoming season came in a statement he made about the team's most exciting win of 2018: "It shouldn't be that the whole town goes crazy over one win on a Thursday."
He referred to the celebration that followed the Browns' victory over the New York Jets on Thursday in Week 3, a win that ended their 19-game losing streak. Mayfield understood the reaction, but he just has his sights set on bigger goals -- and he's not afraid to put them at the Super Bowl.
"If (fans) weren't excited," he said, "I think they'd be kind of blind to what is going on. The excitement's real and it should be."
It represents quite a step for a team that went winless in 2017 and won one game in 2016, for a team that struggled to find any kind of continuity or reliability from 1999 through 2017. But it's real, and it's tangible, and Mayfield is not shrugging off the expectations. The Browns finished 2018 with the biggest one-season turnaround in team history, with a defined answer at quarterback and with improving young players throughout the roster -- highlighted by Pro Bowlers Joel Bitonio, Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward.
Monken interviewed to be the head coach in Green Bay and New York with the Jets, and he had other opportunities as coordinator. He chose the Browns, even though he had never met general manager John Dorsey or new coach Freddie Kitchens prior to interviewing, and even though Monken knew Kitchens would be calling plays.
"To me, it is pretty simple. I have always chosen places based on the people and the opportunity to win -- at least I thought that with the decisions I have made in the past," Monken said.
Wilks hit on the one main reason the Cleveland needle is pointing up.
"You can't win in this league if you don't have a quarterback, and we have a quarterback," he said. "Not only do we have one, we have one that I consider to be from my studying and the things I learned from him coming out of college is he is an alpha male. He affects not only the offensive side of the ball but this team, and that was very attractive coming here."
Hype and offseason excitement don't win games. The Browns have been masterful in proving that the past many years. However, this offseason the presence of the quarterback changes the dynamic. And that dynamic quarterback is ready for big things.
"That's our goal, to set our expectations and live up to that hype," Mayfield said. "But it's our own hype that we're building up. We've shown what we can do at times, but we need to be more consistent and we need to win more games, that's just plain and simple and that's competing for the division and the playoffs every year."