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What Hue Jackson and the Browns hope to achieve as preseason finale nears

Hue Jackson's laser focus on winning has been well-documented over the past few months. And as he and the Browns prepare to host the Bears in Thursday's preseason finale, that same approach still holds true.

But the first-year coach said he understands the past few weeks — which have offered a retooled Cleveland roster both highs and lows — is about so much more than what shows up in the box score.

"I think you can check my last record in preseason," Jackson said with a smile, pointing to an 0-4 showing as the Oakland Raiders head coach in 2011. "I like to win. I will be the first to tell you that. I didn't think I was going to be 0-4 then neither. I don't like being 0-4. (But) if this was going on my tombstone, I would be concerned about it. It's not."

Against that backdrop, Jackson is eager to see how the Browns perform against Chicago after losses to Green Bay, Atlanta and Tampa Bay. At the same time, he said his attention is on making sure Cleveland's ready for the regular season and opener at Philadelphia next week.

"Nobody is going to ask me about the preseason games. They are going to ask to me about the regular season," Jackson said. "Even though I like to win at everything that I do, I do understand that there is a process that we are in right now."

Indeed, Jackson and Co. are still carefully evaluating their club before trimming the roster to 53 members by Saturday afternoon.

"I'm going to watch everything, along with our executive staff. We are at the stage of trying to put our best team together. How many spots, what the numbers are, I'm not sure of that, but obviously, we all know there are some (position battles)," Jackson said. "There are 53 that we have to make sure that we have here so we will work at it and we will see how this thing shakes out."

The Browns earlier this week solidified their 75-man roster, which saw them part ways with a handful of players including starting outside linebacker Paul Kruger, defensive lineman Nick Hayden and defensive back K'Waun Williams.

Because of that, the coaching staff will remain in evaluation mode Thursday.

"Obviously, since we made several changes on defense, we want to keep on looking. I feel pretty good about where we are offensively. I just think we need to fine-tune some things and get better at some things," Jackson said. "There was a starter that was removed from our defensive football team. We are going to look and I need to make sure that we are doing the things that we need to do to be successful over there on defense."

Equally as important, Jackson said, the Browns will also have another chance to assess their starters in a game setting before the wins and losses count for real. "I feel comfortable that we need to play our starters on both sides of the ball. Now, how much they play, that is yet to be determined by me," he said, "but I think we are going to play them because we need to play. We need to get better as a football team as we continue to move forward."

After all, that's what the preseason is for.

"What's important is that we keep evaluating our team," Jackson said, "so that we can ensure that we have the best team here as we move into the season."

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