The sentiment expressed by Paul Kruger last week wasn't a new one, as the veteran linebacker raved about what's been described as a new energy in Berea these days. Indeed, this has been a theme throughout the offseason as the Browns continue workouts under first-year coach Hue Jackson.
But Kruger — who's seen his fair share of coaches both in Cleveland and Baltimore, where he won a Super Bowl in 2012-13 — offered considerable insight for why players are feeling recharged and refreshed under Jackson and a new coaching staff that includes the likes of defensive coordinator Ray Horton, senior offensive assistant/wide receivers coach Al Saunders and associate head coach Pep Hamilton.
Kruger, who is expected to play a key role in shoring up a Browns defense that struggled last year, said "there's no comparison" when it comes to the good vibes Jackson and Co. have ushered into the building lately.
"His energy level, his enthusiasm, his positivity," Kruger said on Cleveland Browns Daily, "it's just something that lights you on fire every time you walk in the building.
"And it doesn't matter what you feel like before you get here, you're going to have a good day. And it's because he just radiates that and it's just very — it just rubs off on everybody. And I appreciate that about him."
And as the Browns enter their second week of OTAs, Kruger said Jackson, above all else, knows how to motivate players to reach their full potential, be it on the practice field or in the film room.
"There's an element to that in football unlike any other sport, you need that motivation, you need those talks, you need to re-motivate each other all the time and he's just so good at that," Kruger said.
The Browns took to the practice fields for Day 2 of OTAs - just the second day the rookies and veterans work on field together. (All photos by John Reid)
Against that backdrop, Kruger said Cleveland enters this summer with a new mindset that would appear to be a reflection of Jackson's leadership and what other players have likened to a "winner's mentality."
"What stands out to me the most is just every player is making his own strides and his own way and coach Jackson is just constantly reinforcing we are the group, we are the team and this is our year," Kruger said.
"And sometimes you can kind of kick against the bricks if you get in the wrong mentality, whereas this year I feel like it's exactly the opposite. We understand how good we can be and you're putting pressure on yourself to be the best so that's very refreshing."
In doing so, the Browns will rely on veterans like Kruger and an enormous rookie class that includes a near-record 14 draft picks.
"Any time you evaluate a good team, a successful team and successful defenses, you've got to have contributors at every level of the game and that includes rookies, that includes backups, and that includes obviously the starters," said Kruger, who added Horton's defense places "everybody in position to be an asset to the defense."
"That's what's exciting," Kruger said, "there's nothing else involved except getting our defense where it needs to be and winning games."