CHICAGO — After their first perfect preseason in 31 years, the Browns began the bittersweet task of trimming their roster to 53 members.
"Always a tough day when you have to tell players they will no longer have the opportunity to be with your team," Jackson said Friday after the club’s first wave of cuts.
"I tell each of them to never give up on their dreams and to keep working hard toward it because more opportunities will arise, but we really appreciate them for the work that they have put into being a part of this organization, but as we all know, we can't keep them all and so, today's a tough day."
The Browns, like all NFL teams, must reduce their rosters to a maximum of 53 players on the active list by Saturday at 4 p.m.
Here's what else you need to know:
— Jackson said rookie offensive lineman Rod Johnson will miss time with an undisclosed knee injury. The fifth-round pick and former Florida State standout — who suffered the injury in Thursday night's win over the Bears — had been taking second-team reps at left tackle throughout the preseason. "He has some more tests on his knee," Jackson said, "we'll learn more about those here in the future and we will just kind of go from there."
— The Browns got encouraging news, however, about rookie running back Matthew Dayes, who left with a neck injury. "I think he's fine," Jackson said. "As I mentioned last night, he bumped his head, but I think he's fine." Dayes, a seventh-round pick out of N.C. State, has emerged as a pleasant surprise since coming to Cleveland this spring.
— There have been no final decisions made when it comes to who will be Cleveland's backup quarterback, but Jackson said "I think we're getting closer to wrapping that up here pretty soon." Brock Osweiler, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan are competing for that role.
— The same goes for the Browns kicker competition between veteran Cody Parkey and rookie Zane Gonzalez. "We'll let you know once we make that decision. I think you are going to find that out here pretty soon," Jackson said. "I'm not going to announce that today until we have made a decision exactly where we are as far as that is concerned."
— After releasing veteran Joe Haden earlier this week, Jackson said the Browns' starters at cornerback will depend on the defensive package. That said, expect Jamar Taylor, Jason McCourty and Briean Boddy-Calhoun to see plenty of playing time this fall. "It all depends on the package we play in based on what the other team is doing," Jackson said. "So, it could be several guys. It could be several guys back there that may look like starters, but it depends on the package we play in.