Cleveland has tangible reasons for its three-game winning streak and a 5-3 record going into Sunday's game at Pittsburgh. They include the outstanding play of quarterback Derek Anderson, the upgrade of the offensive line with Joe Thomas and Eric Steinbach, the maturity of receiver Braylon Edwards and tight end Kellen Winslow and the running threat Jamal Lewis provides.
But there also may be some intangibles at work.
Cleveland's team seems closer than at any time since it returned in 1999 and the improved chemistry comes up often during interviews. It seems a far cry from when tight end Darnell Sanders didn't even know defensive end Courtney Brown's name, pointing to the opposite side of the locker room and calling him ''92.''
Asked about the improved chemistry, Edwards said, ''Guys are doing their part, playing their roles, getting better in what they do as opposed to worrying so much about what's going on with the back side, the left side, the interior, the backfield. Guys are worrying about themselves. As we're getting better individually, we're getting better collectively as well.''
But the players also seem to care more about each other.
''I think guys are playing for each other, they're becoming closer and beginning to understand one another a lot more and they're beginning to disprove some of the things they may have thought about other people,'' Edwards said. ''We're definitely playing for each other and it's showing.''