Jackson, Brown want Browns to take next step toward establishing championship organization in 2017

Browns coach Hue Jackson would rather not dwell on a 1-15 season, but he's making sure his team learns from it.

"I don't like to talk about the past a lot," Jackson said Wednesday, "but I think we have to understand where we've been and where we're trying to get to and just how much work it's going to take to get there."

That was all-too-true for Cleveland last year, a campaign that saw one of the league's youngest teams struggle with injuries, uncertainty at quarterback and sometimes just plain bad luck.

But after a productive and promising offseason, the Browns are poised to take a step forward in Jackson's second season. That journey starts Thursday at training camp, which includes 15 free practices open to the public.

"We're excited, we have got a lot of talented, young players in our locker room," executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said.

"We've got a talented coaching staff that's really committed to helping us return this organization and get this city back to winning ways. We talk about it all of the time, we've got an obligation to the men who wore this uniform before any of us were here and we have got an obligation to the Dawg Pound and the rest of the fans here in Northeast Ohio to establish a championship organization, a club that Cleveland can be proud of. There will be a lot of underlying questions that point in that direction, but we want to be heading there."

Veteran players report to Berea.

The Browns added three first-round draft picks this past spring, including defensive end and No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett, former Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers and former Miami tight end David Njoku. They also scooped up former Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer, who will compete to be the team's starter.

Before that, the Browns hired the fiery veteran Gregg Williams to be their defensive coordinator, fortified their offensive line and added veterans in receiver Kenny Britt and defensive back Jason McCourty to a roster that includes 57 players who are in either their first or second NFL season.

Cleveland also re-signed linebacker Jamie Collins Sr. (a 2015 Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion) and Christian Kirksey, whose 148 tackles were third-most in the NFL last season, and extended left guard Joel Bitonio. "There are several guys who I think have truly improved. We have added more talent to our roster. We have drafted better talent on our roster," Jackson said. "That's why we feel good about having a better opportunity to win."

And Jackson says the Browns understand how much work it'll take to make that a reality.

"What we learned (from last year) is that if you continue to work hard, it gives you the best opportunity," he said.

"That doesn't mean that you're going to win. It just means it gives you an opportunity, but now we feel that we have a better roster and better players in certain positions. I feel like we have made huge jumps and strides on defense. I think we are making huge strides on offense. Now, we have to go try to take this to the next level."

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