BEREA, Ohio--Hue Jackson said it's tough to accept, but easy to compare where you are when you are gauging your team up against a team that your are striving for.
Last week's opponent, the New England Patriots have been the mark of stability in the NFL for quite some time and Jackson said his goal is to someday be that mark of stability.
Asked after the game, where the Browns were in their quest to accomplish that, Jackson said he's not ready to say.
“I don’t know that," Jackson said. "We will not know that until the season is over. Obviously, we have a ways to go. Right now, we are not close, but I think our guys are improving in some areas and getting better. We just have to continue to get better collectively as a team and then we will look back and see exactly where we are."
Jackson said playing top NFL teams allows he and the front office to measure where they're at.
"These are the games that you will point to to where we will make our biggest growth because I think when you play against an opponent that is as good as I think that team is because I think that is the best team we have played this season, you have a different barometer to look at and to judge everything by," he said. "I think I do. I think we all do. That is what the champions – because they have been – that is what the division champions look like – that is what they look like. That is what they play like. That is what we hope to be so that is what you are going to have to defeat as you move forward.”
Jackson didn't use the "P" word (process) but said the eye has to be on the goal when asked if it is hard to go through on a week-to-week basis.
“No, I’m not going to say it is tough," he said. "The reason why I wanted to say that is because I want… We have to understand that is where we are going, where we are trying to get to. Until you can get there, you have to keep reaching for it. You have to keep building to get there, and I think that is what we are attempting to do.
"We want to be one of the best organizations in football so there it was," he said. "That is what you have to look at to compare and contrast of where you are trying to go. It is a good eye-opener for all because that is where we want to be.”
Andrew Hawkins said the Patriots represent one of the best teams in the NFL--even though they don't necessarily have a roster filled with super stars.
“I think the Patriots are a good team, always," Hawkins said. "It is really the program. They are not always the most talented, but the most talented aren’t always the teams that win Super Bowls. The best teams, the best programs are the ones that win Super Bowls. I think it is something to take away from. I think we see that they play together. Sometimes you think, ‘This guy isn’t as good as the last guy we played,’ but they are playing at a high level and are working together. I think that is what makes them so special.”
Joe Haden said despite the Browns being winless through five games, the young players and the team, in general, has to continue to be ready each and every week.
“We have got a job to do," Haden said. "They have got to believe in it. We have got to come in here we have got to figure out a way to get a win. I’m not changing, Joe T (Thomas) is not changing, and the leaders on the team aren’t changing. We keep going into practice every week. Had a great week of practice, a great week of preparation, that’s all we can ask for. All we can ask them to do is keep coming in, keep working hard, keep watching the tape and just keep preparing.”
Jackson said he is encouraged about how the Browns are progressing, even though it's not manifesting itself in the win column.
"Our team has to continue to grow in a lot of different areas,"Jackson said. "That is my responsibility as the head coach of this football team, and I get that, along with our staff, to continue to get these men better. The effort is there. There is no question about that. The guys are working extremely hard. They are giving everything they have. I saw some improvement in some areas that I thought was very important that we continue to get better in over the next several weeks. I have seen some growth in some areas, but I have also seen some things that we have to continue to work through and get better at, and we will do that.
"I’m not by any means discouraged," he said. "I’m going to stay determined. This team is going to stay determined. We are going to stay together and we are going to keep working at it. That is what I love about these guys. I know everybody says, ‘Well, you guys are 0-5. How much long can you keep playing this card until you get there?’ We are a pro team. Our job and our mission is to go out and win every game and to work every week to get better. That is my job to motivate these guys, along with our staff, to get them to buy into what we’re trying to sell. We understand we are a young team, but we are going to work at it every day to continue to get better.”
Hogan, Wright Promoted, Add WR: QB Kevin Hogan and DL Gabe Wright were signed to the active roster from the practice squad. To make room on the roster, the team terminated the contract of QB Charlie Whitehurst with an injury settlement. In addition, the team signed WR Mitch Mathews to the practice squad.
Hogan (6-3, 218) is a rookie out of Stanford. He was originally selected by Kansas City in the fifth round of the draft. He has spent the first five weeks of the season on the Browns’ practice squad. In college, Hogan completed 727 of 1,103 passes for 9,385 yards, 75 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. He also rushed for 1,249 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Wright (6-2, 284) is officially in his second NFL season out of Auburn. Originally selected by Detroit in the fourth round of the 2015 draft, he has appeared in nine career games. Wright has appeared in two games with the Browns this season and spent three weeks on the club’s practice squad.
Whitehurst made his Browns debut as a reserve last week. He completed 14 of 24 passes for 182 yards and one touchdown. He injured his knee in the fourth quarter.
Mathews (6-5, 220) is a rookie season from Brigham Young. Originally signed by Kansas City as an undrafted free agent, he was waived on Aug. 30. In 41 games at BYU, Mathews registered 152 receptions for 2,083 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Erving Anxious: OL Cameron Erving is hoping he will be able to get back on the field this week against the Titans.
“I’m definitely excited to get back out there," Erving said. "It sucks just watching. Putting all the time in that we put into this sport and if anybody gets hurt, it sucks. Thankfully, I’m in the position where I will be able to come back soon. I’m just going to go out there, just going to work to get myself back in shape, first off and just fight through anything that I may have to fight through.”
The plan is for Erving to begin practicing on Wednesday and see how the week goes. Jackson was asked if will be put back in the starting lineup this week, if all goes well.
“We will see," Jackson said. "More than likely, yes. That is where he has played and that is where he is coming back to get ready to go. Once we get him out there at practice, we will see where he is.”
Erving said he feels pretty good after having a scary injury with a bruised lung.
“I feel pretty good now," Erving said. "There are definitely things you have to fight through. We are past the point of worrying about my lung now. We are just pushing forward, making sure I can do everything within my position and just get back out there and play ball.”