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Browns won't back down from challenging 2016 schedule

In the less than 15 hours since Cleveland's 2016 schedule was announced Thursday night, let's start with the obvious: playing five of your first seven games on the road with a first-year head coach and a new-look roster still taking shape is less than ideal.

But don't expect Hue Jackson and the Browns to bury their heads in the sand.

"It's a challenging schedule," Jackson told on Thursday, "but we also knew that that was going to be the case when we started this."

Cleveland opens up its first campaign under Jackson and Co. at Philadelphia and has back-to-back road trips in Weeks 3 and 4 at Miami and Washington. The Browns have another set of consecutive away games in Weeks 6 and 7 at Cincinnati and Tennessee. Cleveland also won't enjoy its bye week until Week 13 — the schedule's latest possible slot — meaning the Browns, including the preseason, will have 16-straight weeks of football.

"We're going to be on the road and we understand this is the schedule we've been dealt. We've just got to have that mindset," Jackson said. "We're going to pack a good team and go on the road and play good games."

Jackson and Cleveland's front office haven't been coy when it comes to the work needed to be done — regardless of the opponents — to lift the Browns out from a string of disappointing seasons. That's something the Browns have made clear over that past three months.

Flip through our 2016 schedule.

By the same token, they've also been firm about the fact they're building a team that's going to compete on Sundays next season despite the notion that next season will be a challenging one.

"I don't get caught up in what everybody else thinks. I can only worry about what this organization thinks and what our players think," Jackson said last week in Cleveland's first press conference since starting offseason workouts. "We know we have a job to do. Like I said, we're just going to keep working at it each and every day.

"Our job is to win. We are not going to just show up and roll the ball out and say, 'You can have it,'" Jackson continued.

"We have a lot of work to do, but I think this team, if they keep working and keep pushing, has a chance to do something that people maybe think they can't, but we'll see. It's way too early to talk about those things. I have said it from the day I sat up here before: I expect to win. Please — I expect to win. Our players expect to win, and we understand that in order for that to happen, we have to work to win. That is all we are about right now. We are not about anything else other than that."​

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