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Joe Thomas Unleashed - On the Osweiler/Kizer Competition, Run Game and Hue Jackson

Joe Thomas talks about the Browns top two QB contenders, the Browns commitment to run, Hue Jackson and Myles Garrett.

Joe Thomas turns the table and interviews ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap

Cleveland LT Joe Thomas met with reporters today and revealed that he will not be playing Monday against the Giants, though he will play in the Week 3 matchup against the Buccaneers.

After a quick note on Brock Osweiler, reporters started to query Joe on rookie QB DeShone Kizer and his development:

On an X’s and O’s standpoint I’m not sure. I don’t sit in their meetings and I don’t have an understanding of his position on the level I would have to, to evaluate his progress but from a comfort, confidence leadership stand point which I think I can grade... you do see that maturity and that growth happening.

After further discussion with reporters, Joe continued on if Kizer were to start Week 1:

I know the way Hue is, that he’s going to play the QB that gives the best chance to win. He’s not going to put someone in there who is not ready just because he’s playing for a couple years down the line. That’s not the way he’s wired... Whoever wins the QB slot, I’m going to put my faith in Hue that that’s the person who gives us the best chance to win.

Then, more directly addressing the question about which the media contingent was most interested, Joe offered his candid expectation for how the QB situation will play out:

To be honest, I don’t think that DeShone will be the starter in Week 1. I think that it is a competition, and I expect Brock to win because of his experience, and QB is the hardest position to get ready to play in your first year. There’s no doubt he could win the competition. I highly expect Brock to win it, just because, in my personal philosophy, it takes a QB 2 or 3 years to have a basic level of understandings of NFL defenses and offenses, to be able to operate proficiently out there on the field... Now I could be totally wrong... I think that they are grooming Brock to be the starter on Week 1.

Next, the conversation shifted towards the Browns commitment to the run game. Joe characterized the difficulty of running the football succinctly:

The run game is difficult, because you have to have everyone that’s a blocker do the right thing, at the same time, and no one can get beat because otherwise it’s basically a lost play.

Joe was then asked whether he has confidence in Hue’s commitment towards the run:

I think it comes down to one thing - how effective we run the ball

I think it comes back to what we’re doing in training camp - that’s Hue’s commitment to run the ball. We’re going to work on it a lot, we’re going to spend the time in practice working on it, we’re going to tackle in practice, we’re going to have a physical camp, and that’s going to hopefully prepare us to have a good running game during the season. Now whether it works or not, that’s going to determine how many more times they call the run.

What a coach values is not necessarily what he says, but how much time he commits to something. And you can tell, we spend a lot of time on the run in practice

Joe then described the pleasure he has working with Myles Garrett. After describing how he “checks all the boxes” for an up and coming rookie, Joe described Myles’ approach to football:

He’s very analytical. He thinks a lot like I do, and he’s always trying to break every little thing down and try to figure out where he can get better, and a guy like that is really fun to work with.

Browns beat reporters, never getting tired of the quarterback conversation returned to the subject first to ask about the positive things he sees in Osweiler:

He has the leadership, understanding and communication to be the starting quarterback. When he’s in the game, when he’s in the practice, it’s got that feel of an NFL QB... He calls the play with enthusiasm, and get’s everyone to the line of scrimmage quickly. He gets the ball, he drops back, he gets where he’s supposed to be, he throws the ball on time to where it’s supposed to be thrown, and it’s not always perfect, but that’s like the absolute minimum you have to have to be a good starting QB.

Following this high praise of Osweiler, came a question that only a Browns beat reporter could ask - how do you suppress openly rooting for Kizer to start. Joe’s response was on point:

Just because DeShone might be good in a few years doesn’t mean you want to throw him in before he’s ready... it doesn’t always work out the best, for the player or the team. The team usually ends up losing, and the player ends up losing confidence.

While I think DeShone’s done an amazing job, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s ready to be the starter tomorrow... You don’t want to see a guy lose his confidence and lose his swagger just because he was played too early.

Finally, Joe Thomas called Hue Jackson the best coach he’s ever had.

Hue has a unique ability to push and prod his players. He also knows when to back off and tell a joke in a meeting.

It was also revealed that Hue consults with Joe and other veterans before major team decisions are made, and that 99 times out of 100 they are on the same page.