When Hue Jackson watched film from Friday's preseason loss to the Buccaneers, it reaffirmed what the Browns coach had already made clear the night before.
"I knew this before watching the tape last night that we have a lot of work to do. Our coaches and players understand that there's a lot of work to do," said Jackson, who met with reporters Saturday afternoon on a conference call.
"This was a tough game. Success is not going to come easy, and we have to put in the work and stay on top of every detail. Every successful team does this and we'll be no different."
"Last night's game certainly did not go the way any of us would've liked and there's plenty of us to learn from," he continued.
"We made a ton of correctable mistakes and we're going to place all of our attention and focus on every detail with a sense of purpose so we can have the success that we want."
That's what the Browns will zero in on this week in practice before hosting the Bears Thursday night at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Before that happens, though, here's what else we learned from Jackson's post-Buccaneers teleconference.
In his postgame press conference, Jackson stressed the Browns aren't dispirited by Friday night's result, saying they won't let a loss affect their focus on the work needed to be done before the season opener against the Eagles on Sept. 11. "You guys – all of the sudden the sky is falling. I didn't know that," Jackson said, laughing. "No, I don't think the sky is falling at all. I think what you see is a young football team that you're going to see some of that — especially early — until they get well grounded."
Jackson added there were positives to be gleaned from Tampa Bay and other things Cleveland must improve before traveling to Philadelphia.
"We have to continue to work at it. I never said we were going to be a juggernaut today or yesterday. I think we're going to keep working at this thing and when the games start being played here in a couple weeks, that's when we have to be at our best," he said.
"Not that we didn't need to be at our best last night – we always want to put out our best, but we know there are some things we have to keep working at and improving on. I understand that and I think we all do, and that's what we're going to continue to do. We're going to keep working at those things."
Growing on offense**
In what was a spirited pair of joint practices with the Buccaneers in Tampa last week, Jackson has said the Browns want to play "progression football" on offense.
"At the end of the day, we're not a team that just flips the ball up anywhere," Jackson said Wednesday. "There is a reason we do what we do on every play, and as long as our quarterbacks are progressing, I get very excited because you can always call another play."
The coach echoed that sentiment on his Saturday's teleconference.
"I love the big plays but I feel like we can't be a team that just relies on big plays offensively," Jackson said.
"We need to sustain drives and that gets back to running the football. I thought (running back Isaiah Crowell) had some really good runs in there at times, but it was nothing sustainable that we could kind of hang our hat on, so we'll continue to get better."
After all, the Browns intend on having a "run-oriented" offense behind Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr. "We're going to have to run the ball better than we have and we understand that," Jackson said. "We're going to have to throw the ball better than we have, but at the same time, I did see some flashes of some things that I think we can build from."
Indeed, Crowell and Johnson combined for 61 yards on 11 carries while, in the pass game, wide receiver Josh Gordon shined in his preseason debut, catching two passes for 87 yards and a touchdown.
'Work to be done'**
A retooled Browns defense remains a work in progress, but Jackson said there were things he liked out of the unit against the Buccaneers.
"There were areas where I think we improved upon from last week, but we're certainly not at the point that I desire or the level that I want us to be," he said.
Jackson said Cleveland has improved its run defense and tackling, but "we have some miscommunication that needs to get cleaned up that will lead to big plays if we don't get that solved."
Jacked added the Browns — which welcomed veterans in cornerback Joe Haden and defensive lineman John Hughes III back into the lineup — are near solidifying a first-team unit so the group can build chemistry on that side of the ball.
"We've been mixing and matching and playing a lot of different players," he said. "Pretty soon we'll have a unit that we feel very good about and we're going to put them out there to play."
Jackson reiterated that cornerback Justin Gilbert (concussion) and wide receiver Marlon Moore (hip) were the only two players injured in Friday night's game. "there were no other significant injuries to report," Jackson said.
That's good news for a Browns team that recently welcomed Haden, Hughes, Andrew Hawkins, Josh Gordon, and Corey Coleman back into the lineup.
The Browns take on the Buccaneers in Tampa for the third preseason game.
Sizing up Corey Coleman's debut**
Speaking of Coleman, the rookie wide receiver made his much-anticipated NFL debut on Friday. The first-round draft pick from Baylor dazzled in the team's scrimmage earlier this month before a hamstring injury sidelined him for the first two preseason games.
And because of that, Jackson said Coleman — who did not record a catch against the Buccaneers — is still re-acclimating himself back into the offense.
"I just think he needs to play … I think, what happened, I think we all have to remember there was a two week or two and a half week period he did nothing," Jackson said.
"I think his process probably changed a little bit from being out there at practice and doing the other things he was doing each and every day because he had to get healthy, and now that he's healthy, sometimes when you go through those situations, it's kind of like starting back over getting a real feel for it all."
Jackson said he's confident Coleman will return to form in no time.
"I think this guy is a tremendous football player and I think he'll bounce back," he said. "I think he's looking forward to playing this week."
'Everybody plays a role in that'
The Browns gave up eight sacks Friday night — including five on starting quarterback Robert Griffin III — but Jackson won't play the blame game, saying those miscues are the result of multiple dynamics that happen on any given play.
"I think everybody thinks it's pass protection. It could be other things. I mean, and I'm not going to get into all of those, but just know that we do not function as a passing team in those areas last night," he said.
"It's not just the line. I'll be the first to tell you that. Sometimes receivers need to be in the right place. Sometimes guys get re-routed and all of a sudden you might have to hold the ball a little bit here and there.
Sometimes the offensive line has to strain a little bit more, but for a passing game to work, it's not just the line. I think everybody has a part in that be it the quarterback, the line, the receivers, the backs. Everybody plays a role in that."