Hue Jackson wants to see more of his starters before the 2016 season opener.
The Browns coach on Monday said he expects to use his top players in some capacity in Thursday's preseason finale against the Bears. What he's yet to decide is how long they'll be on the field.
"We are going to play our guys. I feel comfortable that we need to play our starters on both sides of the ball," Jackson said after Monday's practice. "Now, how much they play, that is yet to be determined by me, but I think we are going to play them because we need to play. We need to get better as a football team as we continue to move forward."
The Browns are coming off a 30-13 loss Friday at Tampa Bay in a game that saw shortcomings emerge in all three phases. Notably on defense, the Browns struggled to rush quarterback Jameis Winston and put up little resistance in the secondary, allowing 259 first-half passing yards.
On Monday, the Browns released veteran outside linebacker Paul Kruger and officially shifted rookie Emmanuel Ogbah back to the position after spending a month on the defensive line. They're one of the many position groups that will be under Jackson's watchful eye against the Bears.
"Since we made several changes on defense, we want to keep on looking," Jackson said. "I feel pretty good about where we are offensively. I just think we need to fine tune some things and get better at some things. Obviously, there was a starter that was removed from our defensive football team. We are going to look and I need to make sure that we are doing the things that we need to do to be successful over there on defense."
Jackson was asked about the importance of picking up a victory to end the preseason in relation to the momentum it would provide entering the season. He smiled, laughed and reflected on the 0-4 mark he had in Oakland as head coach in 2011.
Every decision between now and Sept. 11 is about succeeding in the regular season.
"I don't like being 0-4. If this was going on my tombstone, I would be concerned about it. It is not. Nobody is going to ask me about the preseason games. They are going to ask to me about the regular season," Jackson said. "Even though I like to win at everything that I do, I do understand that there is a process that we are in right now. Now next week, you ask me that, it might be a different story. I might be up here throwing things.
"What is important is that we keep evaluating our team so that we can ensure that we have the best team here as we move into the season."