Hue Jackson’s message to the Browns earlier this week wasn’t anything new, but it had an extra bite to it.
As players reported for offseason workouts Monday morning, Cleveland’s third-year head coach made clear there’s no room for anymore setbacks after two disappointing seasons.
“I think you go into every year wanting to win, but I think — let's just be honest — this is where we are,” Jackson said Tuesday. “We're a 1-31 organization over the last two years. I think it's time to win. I think our fans deserve to see something different. I think our organization deserves to do something different. I think our players should expect to be different and play different.”
Jackson preached that message as he welcomed back a new-look roster that acquired several big names since the beginning of the new league year.
Cleveland added a dozen new players, including veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor, Pro Bowl receiver Jarvis Landry and free safety Damarious Randall, in an effort to help make last year’s winless campaign feel like a distant memory.
The Browns also own the first and fourth picks in the upcoming NFL Draft, poising them to tab a quarterback of the future and another impact player.
Because of that, there’s a sense of hope in Berea that 2018 will shape up to be far different than the past two seasons.
“Seeing the moves that we’ve made tells me that we are working on something special,” fifth-year linebacker Christian Kirksey said. “For me to be here my whole career, and the things that we went through as an organization my whole career, I’m a man of faith and I feel like this year’s going to really be something special for us.”
“We’re trying to do everything in our power, through free agency, through player development, through the draft, to compete every week and put up as many wins as possible,” fifth-year left guard Joel Bitonio said.
“The excuses have to go. It is time. It’s the third year in his program. We’re getting players. We’re signing people. We’re making moves and it’s time to win. That was kind of (Jackson’s) main message.”
Jackson, like his players, sees better days in the not-so-distant future.
“I think it's time, it's time for winning,” he said. “Something I said to (the team) the other day — and I'm being very honest — we've been through it for the last two years. Regardless of what that's been, I really appreciated their determination, their grit and their discipline to go out every week and do everything they could to win.
“Now, it's time to turn some of that hard work over into wins,” he continued. “To a man, I think they get that. And it has been tough and tough on all involved, our fans and everybody. But I see brighter days ahead for the Cleveland Browns organization.”