The 10th day of Cleveland Browns training camp has ended, and you can find our full Day 10 recap here. Let’s check out what Hue Jackson, linebacker Joe Schobert, and quarterbacks Cody Kessler, DeShone Kizer, and Brock Osweiler had to say.
- Let's start by showing you Jackson's press release Monday morning, in it he named Brock Osweiler the team's starting quarterback for Thursday's preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints.
“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,” head coach Hue Jackson said. “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.”
- Jackson took the podium after practice to assess the day and give an update to the press.
“He looked good. Obviously, Brock knows how to play. He is very conscientious, works extremely hard. I think he has gained a lot of respect in the locker room because of the way he prepares. He did a good job today. Obviously, it was his first opportunity with those guys so we just need to keep fine-tuning some things.”
- Jackson discussed in detail the factors that led to naming Osweiler the starter for Thursday’s game.
“Like I said, I was going to put everything into the equation. I talked to our executive team and I just felt like at this time, this was the best opportunity for us and the best thing for us for a couple reasons. For one, we have a veteran player who has played in games and knows how to win, and I need to give him an opportunity to demonstrate that. No. 2, we still have some young quarterbacks that need to play a lot of football. If I stuck one of those other guys out as a starter, they weren’t going to play a lot of football because they probably would come out when the other veterans come out. When you sit down and think through it all, and you think what is best for our football team, it is best for me to trot Brock out there, see if he can go lead this offense and lead the team, and in the process, keep getting these young guys more reps of playing football. They just need to play. (QB) DeShone (Kizer) needs to play more. (QB) Cody (Kessler) needs to play more. (QB) Kevin (Hogan) needs to play more. I thought this was the way to do it.”
- Is Osweiler locked in as the starter moving forward, or will Kessler or Kizer get a shot before the competition is over?
“You never know. I want to just work towards this Thursday night first and foremost. This is about this week, this opportunity and then we will keep going from there because there is still a lot about Brock I need to know, too, playing in a game. He hasn’t done that for me, as well. I think we will find out a lot about our quarterbacks and our football team this Thursday night.”
- Is this quarterback competition over?
“I think we all watched him compete with the twos and move the ball and move the team. It had something to do with it. Like I said, I put everything into the equation. You are talking about a player that has played and won games in the National Football League so there is talent there. There is no question about that. That is why we are stepping him out there, but at the same time, we also have some other young talented players that just need more seasoning, need more football work. This thing is not over by any stretch, but this is the decision I have made at this time.”
- Preseason games are a grab bag when it comes to playing time. How much does Jackson envision his starters will play in the normally reserve-filled first game?
“I have not just yet. I know we are going to play. We are going to play a little bit (laughter) because we need to. We need to get out there and play football, but I don’t know how far it will be. You kind of do some things by feel, and I don’t want those guys to know what number of plays before they say, ‘OK, I am going to check out.’ We will keep everybody into it, and take them out when I think it is time to take them out.”
- The Browns released their first unofficial depth chart of the preseason, and it named Randall Telfer their starting tight end. Why?
“Randall is a blocker. Randall can get after you that way. As you guys know, we play in a lot of different packages, a lot of different personnel. I haven’t decided what the first play is going to be so it could be a whole bunch of tight ends out there on the first play. We will see how that all unfolds.”
- Kizer has taken quite a few snaps with the first team to this point. How will his snaps look moving forward?
“No, I don’t think that is over. I am not going to say that it is over. I don’t think anything is really over right now. Today, we did practice a little bit differently. I think that is what you guys saw on film, but DeShone is progressing. (QB) Cody (Kessler) is progressing. I just have to get them more snaps in a game of playing and that is what I am trying to do.”
- Jackson reiterated the quarterback rotation, again.
“Yes, the rotation will be Brock will go first, Cody will go second and DeShone will go third, and I would love to get Kevin some snaps. I want those other two young guys to play a lot of football if they can.”
- Where is Jackson at with Kessler, and is he disappointed the quarterback hasn’t run away with the competition?
“No, I have said since the beginning that this thing is an opportunity. You have to nail it. If you don’t, it was going to be fluid. I have done exactly what I said I was going to do. I think that is only fair to the players, the players in our locker room and our organization. My job is to put the best guy out there that is going to give us a chance – not saying that Cody still can’t be that guy – but right now, what I’m feeling is let’s go in a different direction, let’s see if we can give Brock an opportunity and let’s take these young guys and keep getting them ready, keep getting them better and see if they can meet up to the standard that we have set and go from there.’”
- What is Kessler’s mindset moving forward after the semi-demotion inherit with Osweiler’s promotion to starter?
“It is the same mindset you keep every time. Whether you are going first group, second group or whatever it may be, you have to prepare like a starter. That is something I have been doing since high school. Nothing changes no matter what the rotation is or where you go, but it is still another opportunity. It is exciting now to get up there and go against another team on Thursday with the Saints and get a chance to put some game-type film on tape, be out there, compete and play against another team.”
- On if he feels like he has a chance to be the regular season Week 1 starter:
“Yes, all of us [do]. You just get a chance to compete. It is going to be nice to go against another team now and get to a game-like atmosphere and to be able to go out there and compete with guys that you have been working with all of camp – different receivers, different rotation. At the same time, your job doesn’t change. You have to go out there and execute the plays that are called, go out there and make plays, and as a quarterback, get your team in the right spot.”
- How does he think his consistency has fared after two weeks of camp?
“That is a big thing at the quarterback position. You have to do it day in and day out. Like I told you guys before, there are some ups and some downs with everything, but you have to keep your emotions level headed and continue to do everything the right way. I think the biggest thing is to put things behind you. If you have a good play, a bad play or whatever it might be, you have to move onto the next one. That has been my mindset is learn from mistakes or different things like that and continue to grow as a player and as a quarterback.”
- Given the Osweiler news, does he see being moved back to second in the rotation as a setback?
“It is just another opportunity. Obviously, it is Coach (Hue) Jackson’s decision. The only way you can control things like that is how you play on the field. That is something that I always stuck with – control what you can control, whenever I’m out there to make the most of those opportunities and do everything I can. Even in practice – practice, preseason and if you get opportunities in the season – you have to make the most of them.”
- He was asked to clarify how going from first team to second team is an opportunity for him.
“Just being on the field. No matter what the rotation is or where you are, you go out there and you are going to watch game film after, you are going to critique yourself and the coaches are going to see it. You just have to continue to make plays when they are there and show that you can run the team and run the offense, no matter what the rotation is.”
- Does Kessler see any significant improvement in himself from his rookie year until now?
“I think I’m still learning. That is the best part about that position. You see some of the greats in this league that play so well as you continue to improve, you continue to learn from them and watch film. For me, that has been my mindset is just to do everything that I can to make myself better as a player and continue to learn stuff from last year or even this camp or different things like that. You want to continue to improve, continue to learn and really critique yourself and be hard on yourself about how certain things are done, even the small details.”
- How has Kizer handled hearing about Osweiler’s promotion and the news that he’ll serve as the third QB?
“The (Orange & Brown) Scrimmage was the same way. I was the second guy to step out on the Brown team. I think this is just another step in the process of me trying to get better. This whole training camp is about me developing and going out and performing when my number is called. When it comes to Thursday night, it has been said that I will be the third guy to step out there and when I step out, it is time to perform.”
- Does Kizer know if he will still receive some first team reps in practice? He did not on Monday, per Andrew Gribble of ClevelandBrowns.com.
“I have no idea. Once again, it is my job to perform when he (Jackson) calls my number. If it is with ones, twos, threes, if it is a preseason rep, a training camp rep, a game rep, whenever my number is called, I am going to go play.”
- After watching film, how does he evaluate his performance at last week’s Orange & Brown Scrimmage?
“I see a lot of room for improvement, a lot of room to take my game to the next level. After watching that, it definitely plays right into where I think I am and that is a guy who is looking to learn as much as I possibly can, a guy who has some consistency things I need to clean up. There is still a lot of work for me to do before I become the quarterback that I want to become one day.”
- What areas does Kizer see as ones he has made improvements in since coming to Cleveland?
“My fundamentals. I finally know who I am as a passer. After spending that time this offseason with the guys out in southern California (quarterback coaches Tom House and Adam Dedeaux), I was able to really define who I am with my throwing mechanics, how I use my hips and things like that. Mechanically, I think I have improved quite a bit, and I am still becoming more comfortable with the playbook. The more you spend reps with it, the more time you with that playbook, the better you will be.”
- Accuracy and placement have troubled Kizer at times. What’s his approach going to be to fixing that as he continues to develop his game in the NFL?
“That is always going to be No. 1. This game does not work at the quarterback position if you can’t put the ball on the receiver. The things that separate the guys from good to great are typically being able to make passes and complete passes when there is tough defenders on them. When they are in man-to-man situations, when it is mono y mono, it is up to the quarterback to make sure he puts the ball where it needs to be.”
- Was Osweiler surprised by coach Jackson’s choice to give him this opportunity to start?
“Now, I know that it is going to come (laughter). As of this morning, (Head) Coach (Hue Jackson) sat down with all of us quarterbacks, talked to all of us at the same time and told all of us how the rotation was going to go Thursday night. Then we came out here and had a great walkthrough. Now, I know what the situation is going to be.”
- Is Osweiler worried he won’t get enough snaps to make an impression because a team’s starting quarterback usually plays less snaps during the first preseason game?
“The key is to make the most out of whatever snaps you get. Whether it is five plays, 15 plays, 25 plays or 50 plays, it is always making the most of that play. When that play is done, put it behind you and make the most out of the next play. That is what I’m going to try to do Thursday night. I don’t know how many plays I’m going to play. You can never go into a game with that specific mindset. The key is making the most out of all of the plays that you do get, and that is what I’m going to try to do.”
- Has his mindset changed at all after being elevated to the starting role?
“Absolutely not. My mindset hasn’t changed. That was something I learned going all the way back to college. If you are the backup, you need to prepare like you are the starter. If you are the starter, obviously, you are preparing like you are the starter. My mindset and how I approach things isn’t going to change. There was a coach that once told me, ‘Be the same guy every day.’ That is what I have always tried to do, whether I was the backup or the starter. That is what I’m going to continue to do. Nothing is going to change, just the group that I’m working with. As you guys have probably noticed during walkthrough, there is a lot of communication already going on. We are having some great football conversations and really trying to dial things in so we can go out there and have a good Thursday night against the Saints.”
- Does he think he built momentum in the quarterback competition after Friday’s Orange & Brown Scrimmage?
“I didn’t put much thought into the quarterback competition after the scrimmage. I think we were all given very different situations going into that deal. My deal going into the scrimmage was just trying to pile up positive plays after positive plays after positive plays. There were some really good things that took place. There are certainly – and I was the first one to tell Coach (Jackson) when we came in the next day and watched it – there are decisions and throws I wish I could have back, but that is football. The key is learning from those decisions, learning from those missed throws and making sure they don’t happen again.”
- How important is familiarity with the first-team offense after not yet receiving snaps with them until this point?
“Yes and no. At the end of the day, we are still going to run the same offense. We are running the Cleveland Browns offense. It doesn’t matter if you are with the ones, twos, threes, fours, fives or sixes. We are all running the same stuff. Now, as far as chemistry with certain players, absolutely. Nothing replaces reps –especially game reps. Just the fact that I can get out there with that first group and start building some chemistry will definitely be a positive.”
- What does Osweiler need to show Thursday against the Saints?
“I think one of the most important things is to continue to grow and develop in this offense. Coach Jackson is very black and white as far as how he wants his offense executed. My hopes are I can on Thursday night after having a week of studying and execute the offense the way he wants it done. That is the first thing. Then it goes down to just – it is boring but it is the truth – finding a way to get first downs and scoring points. That summarizes playing quarterback in the National Football League. If you protect the football, find a way to get first downs and put touch downs up on the board or sometimes you have to settle for field goals and sometimes a throwaway in the red zone is the best possible play. That is our job. If we can do that, regardless of the amount of plays I get Thursday night, whether it is one series, two series or three series or the whole game, my hopes are that every series I’m in there, we can find a way to get points.”
- How has he handled speculation he would get traded again after the Browns acquired him, and how’s he feel about now being named the starting quarterback for Thursday’s matchup?
“I apologize because it is going to be a boring answer, and I have told all of these guys this, but going back to my college offensive coordinator, he told me, ‘Brock, only worry about the things you can control.’ When I got traded, I focused on the things that I can control – my attitude, my energy, my effort towards my offseason workouts and cleaning up things that I maybe didn’t do so well in the previous season. I had a conversation with Coach Jackson very early on and he said, ‘You are a Brown. Point blank, period. You are a Brown.’ I came in here with a very positive mindset. I was very excited to be here and really just tried to make the most of my spring and put a good foot forward.”
- Does he feel gratified for earning the starting opportunity after getting traded and then hearing that speculation?
“No gratification. Bottom line, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. I think this football teams knows that. Obviously, Coach Jackson preaches that every single day. He is telling us that. This is just one step. There is a lot of work to be done. There is a lot of chemistry to be built. There are a lot of fine details that need to be cleared out through more meetings and practice sessions.”
- How much time he has spent with starting receivers Corey Coleman and WR Kenny Britt?
“Very little. Pretty much since I have been here, I have been with the backups. I have had maybe a throw here or a throw there. At the end of the day, that is no excuse. Thursday night, I need to find a way to get first downs and move the chains. We will. That work starts today. We are already out there having conversations. I was just with (RB) Duke (Johnson Jr.) for about 10 minutes, and we were simply just talking about two routes, two plays he has. I was like, ‘From this look, this is what I am thinking, versus this look, what are you thinking?’ We are already starting to build that chemistry and we are going to continue that this afternoon.”
The Browns offered up Joe Schobert as the only non-quarterback on Monday.
- How does he feel the Orange & Brown Scrimmage and Saturday’s practice went for the defense?
“It has been a great experience so far. (Defensive coordinator) Coach (Gregg) Williams has the defense fired up and ready to go every single day. (Head) Coach Hue (Jackson) is doing the same thing with offense to create a competitive atmosphere so it has been a blast so far.”
- What’s the biggest difference between his rookie season and this year?
“Different position so I am in a new scheme. I am learning a new scheme, learning a new position. I get a chance to run around a lot more this year and make some checks. I get to call the defense so a little more responsibility. It has been good.”
- He was asked the difference between playing MLB and OLB.
“Compared to what I was doing last year, it would be more like I am a D end this year in this defense. Definitely glad to be off the ball and behind the line to be able to run the plays down rather than taking on (OL) Shon Coleman in the run game every day.”
- Schobert gives some insight into the personalities of the linebacker corps.
“It has been really good. Kirko (LB Christian Kirksey) has taken it upon himself to be the vocal leader. (LB) Jamie Collins (Sr.) doesn’t say too much, but when he says something, you should listen and (LB) Tank (Carder). All the guys have kind of bonded throughout having these coaches yell at you at practice, create that stress and the pressure so guys kind of bond together a little tighter as a group and as a unit. It has been a good group.”
- What is the new identity, if there is one, of the Browns defense under Gregg Williams?
“Yeah, definitely. I think the first thing they came in, they didn’t put any schematics on the board. They just put their philosophies, their attitudes and just established a ground base for their philosophy. We have been grilled on that in the spring and throughout summer and now camp. It is definitely changing. It is definitely a new tone, and I think the offense is feeding off of it, too.”