Our suspicions were right. After taking the weekend to evaluate the team’s quarterback situation, Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson announced Monday morning that Brock Osweiler will be the team’s starter heading into Thursday’s preseason game against the New Orleans Saints.
Here is the team’s quarterback depth chart for now, followed by a statement from Jackson on the decision:
- 1st String: Brock Osweiler
- 2nd String: Cody Kessler
- 3rd String: DeShone Kizer
- 4th String: Kevin Hogan
“At this stage in the evaluation process of our quarterbacks, we are going to have Brock start the preseason opener against the Saints on Thursday night. A lot goes into our evaluation but it’s always going to be about efficiently and effectively running the offense. You want your starter to be able to do that despite any circumstance.
Brock hasn’t really gotten any first team reps and this will give him that chance. We look forward to seeing what he can do with this opportunity throughout the week and against the Saints. Cody will be the second quarterback to take the field followed by DeShone and then Kevin. I’m pleased with the way our quarterbacks have competed and improved throughout the offseason and training camp. We are going to see a lot more of all of them this preseason and everyone in that room still has the chance to earn more opportunities and the right to lead our team as the starter when the regular season begins on September 10th.”
It’s a remarkable turnaround in support for Osweiler, and one could say that it was largely sparked by his performance in Friday’s scrimmage. Although none of the quarterbacks led touchdown-scoring drives in 12 attempts, Osweiler looked the most competent despite playing with a second-string offensive line against the team’s first-string defense.
Throughout all of camp, Kessler and Kizer have alternated first-team reps, while Osweiler has remained with the second teamers. These next two practice days will be important for Osweiler to build some chemistry with the first-teamers so he can be better prepared heading into Thursday’s game.
Here is a poll fans voted on Sunday, showing that their support started leaning in Osweiler’s direction:
But maybe there were more signs all along that this was simmering. Back in June, one player on the team privately predicted to ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Osweiler would be the team’s No. 1 quarterback heading into camp (close enough). As an organization, the early mentality of “we only acquired Brock for that second-round flip” also started to turn toward, “we’re actually going to let him compete.” Given his experience, it’s no wonder that he looked more polished than his competition, even with less to work with.
In hindsight, it’s pretty funny when you think about Osweiler’s buzzworthy comments to the media when he said that he should start because “the proof is in the film.” Mocked at the time, we’re not several months later, and the proof actually is in the film from his time with Cleveland that has led to him getting the No. 1 job.