BEREA, Ohio -- When he first walked into the Berea training facility to report for training camp earlier this week, eight-year veteran linebacker D’Qwell Jackson noticed a different feeling, something he quickly embraced as a “winning environment.”
From the $5 million investment owner Jimmy Haslam made to renovate the building and the life-size photos of the players whose numbers have been retired gracing the entry way to the new windscreens with images of Browns players wrapping the fences around the practice fields, Jackson said “everything” is different.
“Everything matters,” Jackson said. “It shows that if they’re putting in the time to make things look first class, do things first class, then we have to understand that and put a better product on that field. It’s a fence, but I came out and was like, ‘Whoa! This is the real deal. This is first class.’ That’s been the biggest difference, the way they’re doing everything, first class, no shortcuts. When you start doing that, good things are bound to happen.”
Since the start of his career with the Browns in 2006, Jackson has played under the direction of four head coaches, and five defensive coordinators. When asked if this was the most optimistic he felt on the opening day of training camp, Jackson quickly responded, “Yes,” and gave credit to coach Rob Chudzinski.
“You can tell he wants this thing to work,” Jackson said. “He wants to get over that hump. He’s all-in. He’s doing everything right. We couldn’t be in a better place right now. I know it’s the first day and everyone’s excited, but there’s a different vibe around here. The young guys have come into a great situation. I’ve been around here for a while and have seen so many different styles, techniques, but I feel what Chud is doing now is really making an emphasis on creating a winning environment, being committed.”
According to Jackson, Chudzinski’s commitment is evident because he feels the first-year head coach “is doing everything possible to be successful.”
“He talks to everyone. He asks our opinion,” Jackson said. “He wants to know how things can get better. That’s pretty impressive. A lot of guys get into a situation and they want to do it their way or no way, and he’s a guy willing to take any opinions. He’s given us that trust, and in turn, we have to not let him down in that regard, do what we’re supposed to do, embrace my role as a leader, making sure guys are doing what they’re supposed to do.”
Jackson also credited the attacking style of coordinator Ray Horton as being a positive step for the Browns’ defense.
“As a defensive player, you have a mindset of wanting to be aggressive, and he utilizes that,” Jackson said. “He’s a smart guy, and we have smart players that can get it done. You can’t be able to run different sets or multiple looks and pressures if you don’t have the guys capable of doing it. I think we have smart guys and guys that play tough. It’s going to come down to everyone grinding throughout the season, doing what they’re supposed to do and be consistent about doing it.”