The Browns have turned the page to the regular season, something head coach Hue Jackson welcomed with a wide smile Thursday night following their preseason finale against the Bears.
"We're not blinking," he said after a 21-7 loss to Chicago.
But before Cleveland can dive into its game plan for the Eagles, it will trim its roster to 53 members, a process Jackson described as "extremely difficult days."
"We have to tell a lot of young men that they have done everything that you've asked of them the last eight months that they don't have a chance to be part of the team right now," Jackson said in a teleconference Friday afternoon.
"We hope we've helped them become better players and better men along through the process, but it's tough because we all that a lot of their dreams are tied to this opportunity."
Still, Jackson said the Browns will march forward toward the season opener at Philadelphia, the first of five road trips in the next seven weeks.
"We've been looking toward this for a lot of months. Throughout the preseason, our focus has been on those games and evaluating our football team," Jackson said, "but right now, it's got to shift to the heat."
Here are four more things to learn from Jackson's Friday teleconference.
Jackson weighs in on WR competition
With 10 talented wide receivers on the Browns roster, Jackson made it clear last week the club won't be able to retain all of them. He echoed that sentiment Friday.
"I have really appreciated all of those guys because they have been here, they have been part of our program and they have worked extremely hard. Those guys have done a good job in preseason, but I think we all know that we can't keep them all," Jackson said.
"How that is going to unfold is going to unfold. I am really appreciative of all of those young men because they came here and gave it everything they have. Unfortunately in the National Football League, you can't keep everybody on your roster."
Indeed, the Browns, who drafted four receivers this past spring in an effort to bolster the position group, will retain the pass catchers they believe fit their team best.
Jackson added the Browns want to do their best to keep as many newcomers in Berea.
"We are definitely going to do everything we can to keep those guys here. We drafted them. We think they have bright futures. Obviously, we haven't made as many plays yet from that group as we would like, but we think that all those guys have an opportunity," he said.
"We are working through all of that now, trying to make sure of how that's all going to pan out, but I think there is an opportunity for those young men to be here."
No worries about Coleman
Browns rookie wide receiver Corey Coleman recorded his first NFL catch Thursday night, a 10-yard grab from quarterback Josh McCown.
For the dynamic first-round draft pick from Baylor, it was the first step in what's been a process of reacclimating himself to the Browns offense after missing the first two preseason games because of a hamstring injury. In order to accomplish that, Jackson said Coleman simply needs to time on the practice field and the chance to grow with his offensive teammates.
"Corey is going to be a tremendous football player for us, and he will do some great things here," Jackson said after addressing a play in which Coleman lined up incorrectly.
Jackson also shrugged off the notion that Coleman is still digesting the size of an NFL playbook.
"I don't think his head is spinning. What it is, I think sometimes when you get down in the scoring zone or you get down in different situations, all of the sudden the play is called and you don't hear it all. You turn away a little too soon or you thought it was this when it was really that. Those things happen. I don't think Corey is spinning," Jackson said.
"I don't think there is any issue with Corey whatsoever. It is unfortunate that it happened at that time and we are having to talk about it today, but he has been outstanding as far as getting lined up and knowing exactly what to do."
After a preseason of highs and lows, Jackson said the team's "evaluation" period is over. Now, he said, it's time for Cleveland to prepare with those who make the 53-man roster.
Against that backdrop, Jackson said he thinks the Browns have improved over the past month.
"I think the biggest thing we have done is we are starting to settle on our football team. Can I tell you one thing that has improved more than the other? That would be probably difficult for me to do right now," he said.
"Right now, we are still working our tails off to make sure we shore up anything and everything that we have had some issues with. At the same time, I feel very comfortable with where we are with the people that we have that we have an opportunity to move forward."
Patience is a virtue
With a roster filled with new players and new faces, the Browns haven't flinched from the fact they have one of the youngest rosters in the NFL.
Because of that, Jackson said he'll strike a careful balance between being patient and holding them to a high standard.
"We have a very young football team, and I have to give them – there is always a little bit of rope here to get them where they need to be. They are going to make mistakes. Our football team is going to make mistakes. We just can't make the same mistakes over and over," he said.
"Hopefully, the ones that we don't want to make are the ones that hurt us as a football team. We don't want to turn the ball over. We don't want to get stupid penalties, as we all know. We want to make sure that from those things that we are handling things from an intelligent standpoint and are making sure that we are doing everything we can to protect the ball."