The Browns on Monday dove into preparing for their season opener against the Eagles after finalizing a 53-man roster filled with new and young faces.
"I knew we had a chance to be (young), I didn't know how young we would be," head coach Hue Jackson said with a smile. [
"We have what we have. I'm excited about the guys that we have. We just have to coach them up and get them better."
But Jackson made it clear Cleveland won't let a youthful club alter its goals for this season.
"I have an expectation and I'm not backing down from that and I'm not changing that thought process in our players. That is just what we are going to do and we are going to find a way to do it," said Jackson, who has spoken of a commitment to winning on a consistent basis.
"I don't know how it's going to happen. By hook or by crook, we are going to get this done. We have to. That is all I know. I don't know anything else."
Here are four more things to know from Monday.
'They need to see me be very consistent'
For Jackson, who will make his debut as the Browns coach, Sunday will also mark the second time he guides a team through its season opener as a head coach following a stint with Oakland in 2011.
Against that backdrop, Jackson reflected on the differences between then and now and spoke of personal growth.
"I think I'm a lot calmer. I thought I was about to lose my mind the first time I did this," he said, laughing. "I think I get it now. I understand the process of it and understand really what we are trying to accomplish, which really keeps you calm during the week."
Perhaps most of all, Jackson spoke of consistency and the need to be something of a rock with a young football team.
"I think it is really important for our football team, they need to see me be very consistent week in and week out. I'm not – like I said the other day – we are not blinking," he said. "We are just going to keep getting better. We are going to keep working. We have a big game this week and we are looking forward to it."
'We drafted them for a reason'
Jackson outlined the Browns' decision to keep all four rookie wide receivers on the 53-man roster, saying the club had to make difficult decisions to let go of veterans such as Marlon Moore and Taylor Gabriel.
"It was hard because we had some other guys that were good players," he said.
"At the same time, we drafted (the rookies) for a reason. Those guys have shown the ability whether on the practice field or in games that they can play. We made a decision to keep them, and our job is to coach them and get these guys better."
The Browns wide receivers, who have been tutored by senior offensive assistant/wide receivers coach Al Saunders for the past few months, will have the opportunity to display those talents Sunday against an Eagles pass defense that ranked 28th in 2015.
"We have a good group of guys, even the vets that are with us and the rookies," said first-round draft pick Corey Coleman, who is poised to play a key role this season. "We have a special group of guys and everyone should help out a lot."
Rashard Higgins, the fifth-round draft pick from Colorado State who has turned heads with his crisp routes and soft hands, said he, Coleman, Ricardo Louis and Jordan Payton are eager.
"I wouldn't say it's intimidating. We're just learning from the vet," Higgins said, pointing to Andrew Hawkins. "Hawk always has good insight to what we could do better, how we should do things. Not only him but coach Saunders as well. We're young. We have a lot of growing to do and that's what we look forward to."
Payton, who is the all-time receptions leader at UCLA, added: "We're hungry. We're a group who came in, we know what we wanted. We all came from programs that we had great success at. It seems to me that right now we're all on the same page. With that, that's a good starting point. You're all on the same page, you're hungry, and then you mix talent and hard work together – I don't think the age is going to matter at that point, I think it's just about making plays."
A warm welcome
New Browns punter Britton Colquitt spoke of a warm welcome — literally and figuratively — since coming to Cleveland following seven seasons with the Denver Broncos.
"It was tough for me just leaving somewhere that I was at for so long, but man it's been a warm welcome (and ) it helps that it's warm, that's nice," he said, laughing. "It's beautiful here (in Cleveland) so far."
Indeed, on a bright and warm afternoon, Colquitt — who signed with the Browns Saturday after helping the Broncos win Super Bowl 50 in February — said the first thing he noticed about the Browns was a "winning" mentality.
"Coach Jackson, that's all he's talking about is winning and it's very positive and it's not this negative anything," he said when asked of the transition from an annual playoff contender to a team that has struggled in recent seasons.
"It's really been great – it feels like you're part of a winning team already and we haven't got to the season yet, but it feels good."
Colquitt, whose father, Craig, played for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s and 80s, added: "Everybody is super nice and supportive. They have all the support to make us successful. I haven't interacted with a lot of fans or anything like that yet, but that just goes without saying – the Dawg Pound. It's a great organization.
"My dad is thrilled – he played for Pittsburgh – so he's like, 'Man you're playing for a great organization.' This is his old division… he's thrilled that I'm here and I am, too. Obviously first impressions are great – it's been beautiful since I've been here."
New faces in Berea
The Browns on Sunday picked up five players — running back George Atkinson III (Oakland), defensive back Briean Boddy-Calhoun (Jacksonville), defensive back Marcus Burley (Seattle), defensive lineman Tyrone Holmes (Jacksonville) and linebacker Corey Lemonier (San Francisco) — off waivers.
Jackson said the goal is try and acclimate those new faces as quickly as possible ahead of the season opener.
"Obviously, we will try to get them up to speed as fast as we can. We will make that determination as we go through the week and see where they are and if they can contribute," he said.
"Some are going to have to. Some don't have to right away. We will figure that out as we go."