Browns coach Hue Jackson says it's too early to make decisions concerning any position group — quarterback included — as Cleveland nears the end of its offseason workout program.
"Until we line up across from a guy and you need to defeat somebody with your hat and hands and do it when the other guy is trying to get around you and trying to go through you will you really know," said Jackson, who met with reporters Tuesday following the team's first mandatory veteran minicamp practice.
"There's a lot of guys who look good in shorts. So I don't want to heap praise on somebody and then everybody say, 'What happened to this guy.' I think that's unfair. I think what we need to do is really channel the expectation of every position."
And as the Browns ready themselves for a summer break before reporting back to Berea for training camp in July, Jackson said the purpose of minicamps and OTAs — which have been carried out in helmets and shorts — is to lay a foundation before "the real football starts getting played."
"That's when the pads come on, and that's a different game," he said, "and I think we all know and understand that."
Against that backdrop, Jackson — who was peppered with questions about the Browns' quarterback competition — reiterated the coaching staff won't name a starter anytime soon, a sentiment he's made clear throughout the course of offseason workouts.
"I think everyone here is waiting on Hue Jackson to say, 'This is the quarterback of our football team.' That's not going to happen. I already told you guys that. I feel very comfortable where our players are and what they're doing," he said.
"But I'm not in a rush, everybody else seems to be in a rush. I think I've been up here three or four times, and it always leads back to, 'are you going to make a decision about the quarterback?' I think it's way too soon. And it's not that I can't see enough, it's that I'm kind of old school. I know how I want this position to play for this organization and this city and this football team … there's just a certain feeling you get and you know."
The Browns took to the field for the first day of the mandatory veterans' minicamp.
Jackson said he's been encouraged by progress in the Browns' quarterback room, a group that includes Josh McCown, Robert Griffin III, Austin Davis, Connor Shaw and rookie signal-caller Cody Kessler, who met with the media Tuesday afternoon.
"We have an expectation for how that position should play, and I truly believe we'll get there," Jackson said. "But I think like anything it's still a work in progress and nobody needs to master the test right this second and I think we're getting there."
Of course, Jackson said, that goes for every position.
"Until we have an opportunity to watch these men under true duress — and under true duress as in until we get these guys in pads and we start going after it," he said.
"Because right now, this is truly just about learning the foundation, learning how to practice, learning how to prepare yourself and learning the processes of how to be a pro football player. After that, the real guys are going to start to separate themselves when we come back for training camp.
"Because that's when football starts to get played, when we put these pads on and start going after each other."
Until then, the Browns will keep laying the building blocks one position at a time.