Jackson: 'Never witnessed a group transform as fast' as Gregg Williams leaves mark on Browns defense

The first time we saw Hue Jackson and new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams together in action was at the Senior Bowl in January, where the two engaged in a sort of playful trash talk during practices throughout that week down in Mobile, Alabama.

That dynamic, Jackson said Thursday in a wide-ranging interview on Cleveland Browns Daily, is what the Browns need as they finish up Week 4 of offseason workouts and prepare for Friday's rookie minicamp.

"We'll keep it that way," Jackson said with a wide smile. "That's what we want. Our guys like to compete, we as coaches like to compete. We do it all in fun, but it's very chippy, very competitive and I think it makes practice go a little better. I think it eggs on competition a little bit more and that's what you need."

That's partly why Jackson tapped Williams, a 27-year veteran who helped New Orleans win a Super Bowl in 2010, earlier this year to help mold a young defense that recently added defensive end Myles Garrett, the first-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, and safety Jabrill Peppers, the 25th overall pick.

And when Garrett and Peppers report for minicamp Friday, they'll get a sample of what the rest of Cleveland's defense has learned over the past few weeks. "His energy is crazy," veteran cornerback Joe Haden said last month. "He definitely brings a different attitude."

"He is an intense coach. You can tell that he wants to change the culture around here. I think he is the perfect fit," added defensive lineman Danny Shelton. "Just in his demeanor alone, you can tell that he is a serious guy. It is exciting to come to work and know that he is going to have a challenge for you every day. It's going to be a lot of work this year."

Jackson said Williams, who has assembled five top-five defenses -- including the league's best unit in 2000 -- behind a fiery approach centered around accountability and attention to detail, has already started to leave his mark.

"He is probably the biggest recruit I've had thus far. He's done a tremendous job thus far," he said. "I think the players have all gravitated to his style, truly believe in what he's selling and he's one of the greatest salesman I've ever been around."

"He's really detail-oriented, he has expectations for our players, he's really going to push and prod them, they've done a great job. I've never witnessed a group transform as fast because he spent two weeks not talking about scheme, he spent two weeks talking about how you play in the National Football League."

That, of course, is an ongoing process for the Browns, who finished 1-15 last season and 31st of 32 teams in total defense. But Williams, Jackson said, has him feeling optimistic about the future of Cleveland's defense.

"I think our players understand there's a demand of how we play that's going to be different," he said. "We want to see the Browns be different than they've ever been.

"Well I can assure this," Jackson continued. "On defense, we will be different."

It's already evident on the practice field.

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