Hue Jackson liked what he saw out of the Browns' rookies on Friday afternoon, but Cleveland's first-year coach says they have much work to do.
"I think it was a good start, and I think the first thing I noticed is we have some guys who need to get in shape extremely fast," Jackson said, laughing, following the team's first practice of rookie minicamp.
"It also showed me how impressive it's been to watch our veteran players get in shape and really work hard. But again, it's a good first day for the Browns and our young players for them to start learning how we go about doing things here."
Indeed, that's something Jackson made clear last week before the rookies' arrival Thursday, outlining what he wanted to see out of the team's 24 newcomers, including 14 members of the largest draft class since 1979.
"I want them to truly get to understand our culture here and what the expectations are — have them really truly get to know their coaches back-and-forth both ways where we understand them and they understand us a little bit," Jackson said last week on Cleveland Browns Daily.
And Friday -- which doubled as the rookies' debuts as members of the Browns -- offered Jackson and Co. the first chance at doing exactly that.
"The most important thing for me is to get these guys caught up to speed with our veteran group as far as the culture in the building and I think it's something I talked about a lot last night with them, it's something I talked with them today," he said.
"Because I think it's very important these guys have to assimilate themselves into what we've already established. Our veteran players have worked extremely hard, and the culture here is great. And it's really important that these young guys catch up. They have a lot of work to do and I think they saw that today. It's a good start."
Asked whether he was surprised by the rookies' level of conditioning, Jackson smiled and shook his head.
"No, not yet because they haven't been around us, you know? I don't think anybody would really understand — I don't think our veteran players understood until they went through it — and so it'd be the same thing with these young men," Jackson said.
"The difference with this group is we put them on the field first, whereas our other guys had two weeks to understand where we're headed before we started. They'll get acclimated real quickly. They understand they need to be out there."
After all, that's what rookie minicamp is for.
"The fun part for me is watching where they were today," Jackson said, "and where they'll be in a few weeks from now."