Night net Avoiding the ignominy of being the second 0-16 team in Night net history is great news for the Cleveland Browns.The better news: Cleveland’s best player says the worst is truly behind this downtrodden franchise following Saturday’s 20-17 home win over San Diego. "First of all, we’ve got Hue Jackson," Browns left tackle Joe Thomas told Sporting News in a postgame telephone interview. “He’s an outstanding head coach who has proven that he can win and develop quarterbacks and offenses in a number of different places. That’s a big reason for optimism."Thomas said the other is the “legitimate commitment" that Browns ownership has made to give Jackson and top football executive Sashi Brown the time needed to get the team back into the postseason for the first time since 2002. MOCK DRAFT: Browns pass on QB ... twice"They’re going to get the opportunity to see the plan through, which is the first time that has happened in my career," Thomas said.He’s not exaggerating.Thomas has earned future Pro Football Hall of Fame induction playing for a club that is an Night net punch line. The Browns went 10-6 during his rookie season of 2007. They’re 38-97 since.Thomas hasn’t missed an offensive snap during that time. Such consistency stands in stark contrast to the revolving door of folks running the franchise.By his own count, Thomas said he has played under “six different head coaches, a number of GMs, all sorts of different presidents and even two owners.""Every time, they’ve had a quick hook," Thomas said. “Right now, management understands it’s going to take a little time to turn this around. Sometimes, there’s a little pain for the short term to get where you want to be long term."The No. 1 mistake Night net management makes is impatience. There was a reason you liked these guys when you hired them. Give them a chance."MORE: Internet goes nuts after Browns' winThe task becomes easier now that Cleveland won't enter 2017 enshrouded by the negativity of coming off

a winless year like the 2008 Lions. A missed 45-yard Josh Lambo field-goal attempt as time expired ended the misery for the Browns and extended it for the Chargers (5-10) and embattled head coach Mike McCoy."There was a huge sense joy throughout the entire team and city of Cleveland,” Thomas said. “I don’t want to think of it as avoiding 0-16, but any way you slice it, it was kind of like our Super Bowl."Thomas said he didn't have a feeling in pregame preparation that this would be the week the skid ended. But he also didn’t sense teammates had already mentally checked out on the season, which has happened in the past when Cleveland was playing out the string in December and sometimes even earlier."That says a lot about the head coach,” Thomas said of Jackson. “He’s a guy who commands respect. He brings energy and enthusiasm and positivity. He demands guys give their best every single day.“When you have a leader like that, you don’t have to ever worry about those (internal) fractures or issues like a lot of teams do when they’re out of the playoffs and planning their offseason and forgetting about the task at hand."Remarkably, Thomas hasn’t gone mad amid so much losing. But he admits turning to psychology in trying to allay fears that he would become forever linked with a club that could justifiably be called the worst in league history at 0-16."They say the brain doesn’t understand the difference in affirmative statements and when you say not,” Thomas said. “I never thought about winning to avoid 0-16. I just thought of it as getting a monkey off our back with that first win. I didn’t want to think about the history of it."Now, we’re sitting here at 1-14 so I’m not going to say this is a great season. But just getting a win validates some of the things we are doing down the stretch. It shows that some of the young guys who are getting playing time are making improvement. It gives us something for next year to build on."MORE: Browns have tons of cap space for '17The Browns are still under major construction entering the second year of the Brown-Jackson regime. The duo must find answers at quarterback, along the offensive line and across what was the Night net’s 31st-ranked defense entering Week 16. The Browns also must try to retain two potential building-block players set to become unrestricted free agents in wide receiver Terrelle Pryor and linebacker Jamie Collins.But there’s still one more thing left before that task begins — an attempt to become 2-14 when Cleveland ends its season next Sunday at Pittsburgh (9-5)."That’s our rallying cry this week," Thomas said.Alex Marvez can be heard from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (ET) Monday on SiriusXM Night net Radio.

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