The Browns concluded their third and final week of OTAs on a warm and sunny Wednesday afternoon in Berea, marking the latest chapter in Cleveland's offseason workouts under Hue Jackson.
"It was a good, toasty one today," Cleveland's first-year coach said, smiling.
And so far, Jackson likes what he's seen from the roster following the chance to evaluate the roster in its entirety, with veterans and rookies coming together for the first time on the field.
"I thought our guys did a good job, a lot of enthusiasm, guys practicing extremely hard. I'm really happy where we've gotten to after eight practices. I think our guys have done a really good job," Jackson said.
He added: "I think we're starting to get it. We're still a long ways away, but I'm proud of the group and what we've been able to do thus far in OTAs."
Jackson, who has spoken of incremental improvement over the course of the last few months, said the Browns have laid something of a foundation to build on with a mandatory veteran minicamp set for next week and, eventually, when training camp rolls around.
"We've still got a minicamp to finish — and I think our guys understand that — but I've been extremely pleased and happy with the progress that we're making each and every day," he said.
"It's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but I think the guys are starting to truly understand what it takes just to truly have an opportunity to win in this league, just how hard it is each and every day when you go on the football field, in the weight room or in the classroom. Just the focus you have to have to go out and compete at such a high level."
Speaking the language and setting the standard
Among the goals of OTAs was to have players and coaches speaking the "same language" in terms of football schematics and establishing a theme of putting "heads down and working."
Jackson said those missions have been accomplished.
"What stood out to me as a head coach is the way we compete just each and every day and how we respond and how we want to work and be the best we can be. If I can take anything from this part of that, it's that my whole goal is to get these guys to learn our language, master our language on offense, defense and special teams," he said.
"And then to understand how you practice, how you practice situational football, how you have to go out and compete to get better, and how there are no bad days. You can't have bad days. I'll be the first to tell you we didn't practice as well as we could have on Tuesday but these guys came back today and practiced that they are supposed to practice.
"These guys have set a standard and I'm going to keep them at that standard or above. I'm not going to let them slide. I think they get that, and they responded like I never imagined they could today. They got after it."
The Browns took to the practice fields for their final offseason training activity of 2016 before next week's minicamp.
Browns aren't ready to name a starter at QB
Jackson reiterated the Browns aren't ready to name a starter at quarterback, but he's seen improvement and progress out of a room that includes Josh McCown, Robert Griffin III, Austin Davis, Connor Shaw and newcomer Cody Kessler.
"But we still have a little bit more that I need to see to feel very comfortable and confident saying, 'This is our guy.' I think they're all competing extremely hard and extremely well and, again, I think when the time is right — trust me, you all will be the first to know — what that is that we're going to do," he said.
"But I feel very comfortable that we have enough candidates at the position that people are starting to emerge. But I want to feel very good — myself, the staff — naming that guy because it's more than playing the position, I hope you all understand that. There's more to it than that. There's a lot of different hats that man wears.
"And I have to make sure for our football team, for our city, for our opportunity to win, that we make the right choice and not the fast choice.
The new workout plan
As part of an offseason workout program aimed at getting Cleveland's roster in the best shape possible this offseason, Jackson heaped praise on Adam Beard, the Browns' new director of high performance, and the impact he and his staff have had thus far.
"They've done a really good job of tailoring what we do with our players, positionally, and he's one of the best I've been around … he's one of the best at what he does, and the proof is there. We're not having the soft tissues that we've had before and we have players on the field that practicing," he said.
"We get the tweaks that every football team gets, but at the same time, as hard we pushed them and asked of them, I think Adam and his staff have done a tremendous job of getting our team in the best shape that they can be. I think our guys understand they have a ways to go, but Adam is just the man to lead them into that progress."
Developing the rookies
Browns rookie linebacker Emmanuel Ogbah earned the praises of defensive coordinator Ray Horton and some of Cleveland's veterans last week. And it's clear he's made a similar impression on Jackson, too.
"He's coming, it was fun today watching him come off the edge a couple times. It felt like a real game there because he's very explosive, he's a big man and he's truly starting to understand the NFL game and what it takes to play up here each and every day," he said.
"I think our veteran players have done a good job of taking him under their wing and showing him the ropes on how you have to prepare and obviously his position coaches (too)."
Like Obgah, Jackson said he wants the staff to harness those flashes of potential from all of its rookies.
"I think that's something that our staff — we're going to take a lot of pride in developing our young players," he said. "We drafted these guys for a reason and we want to give them an opportunity to see if they can play. This is where it starts but we'll find out when it gets to training camp.