You know things aren't going well for the Browns when nose tackle Shaun Rogers isn't pleased with the way he's playing.
Rogers has been among the few bright spots the last two seasons. He's a perfect blend of size, strength and quickness for his position. When he plays to his capabilities, as he did in 2008, it usually means a trip to the Pro Bowl.
But Rogers, like most of his teammates, isn't getting the job done on a consistent basis. He'll look dominant one play, splitting blockers in the style of a great one-gap lineman, then you won't hear his named announced for a while.
"Very unsatisfactory," Rogers replied when asked how he played in the first three games. "It's my job to be an impact and an influence, and I don't think I've done my job. I'm still working on getting me straight. I haven't had the game I'd like to have."
Rogers is a focal point in more ways than one. In addition to being the best defensive player on the roster, he's a presence in the locker room. When rookie cornerback Coye Francies got hot under the collar after being hit with some cold water by teammates, the 350-pound Rogers calmly grabbed Francies and walked him out of the locker room.
In a way, the mood of the team can be read by Rogers' attitude. It was reported during the offseason that he wanted to be traded because of two perceived slights by coach Eric Mangini. Rogers felt Mangini snubbed him when both were in the same room prior to a downtown convention, and the other time was when Mangini walked through the weight room when Rogers was working out.
The two settled any differences that existed, and Rogers appears to be a happy camper - if there's such a thing on a 0-3 team that's been outscored 95-29. Even with stories about player grievances and Mangini's disciplinary style, Rogers doesn't think players have turned on the coach.
"Even though it's a little hard to grasp, I think people are kind of understanding the points behind it and the necessity in having some type of discipline and some type of leadership," he said. "Wins would definitely cover some of the rough edges, but I think guys are going to understand it and buy into it."
Still, at some point in time most teams realize that the playoffs are a lost goal and all that remains is to play for improvement and job security. That can be a dangerous point to cross for coaches because the possibility exists of a team giving up on the plan.
"We're a long way (from that)," receiver Mike Furrey said. "To get a win in this league is big, and to get your first win of the season is huge, and ours will be big. It is tough. The more we get into a hole, the tougher it will get. We need to change things immediately."
The topic of players quitting on Mangini came up after the 34-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday. It seemed a bit early in the season to be asking such a question, but it probably was a good time when factoring in the manner in which the Browns have been losing.
It's resulted in an embarrassing situation for Mangini, owner Randy Lerner and the players. The Browns are being hit particularly hard by the national media.
"We're kind of bad right now, and that's just the fact of it," Rogers said. "We're not doing what we're being paid and coached to do. We just have to get better and there are no excuses or anything behind it."