Cleveland Browns quarterback Garrett Gilbert showed everyone on Saturday afternoon just how to take advantage of an opportunity.
With quarterback Baker Mayfield getting the day off after a solid week of practice, Gilbert started Cleveland’s exhibition game against the Indianapolis Colts. He played the entire first half, and while just about every one of the team’s top offensive playmakers were on the sidelines, Gilbert had himself a nice day.
Gilbert, who has three career pass attempts in an NFL regular season game, led the Browns on a pair of touchdown drives (covering 64 yards and 75 yards) and finished off his afternoon having completed 13-of-19 passes for 151 yards, a pair of touchdown passes and a quarterback rating of 127.3.
Through two preseason games, Gilbert is completing 65.8 percent of his passes (27-of-41) for 286 yards, two touchdown passes and, most importantly, has yet to throw an interception.
It may only be the preseason, but Gilbert is making his case for a roster spot with the Browns, which seemed like a stretch when the team signed him after the Alliance of American Football went out of business.
Gilbert is now taking things one day at a time, he told clevelandbrowns.com:
“It’s all about improving every day, and from there, the chips will fall. If I worry about that and control what I can, everything will take care of itself. I feel very comfortable in this offense, but I’ve only been here a few months and still finding my way. I do feel like I’m still improving and getting better.”
There are some who are ready to not only hand Gilbert a roster spot, but name him Mayfield’s backup and send veteran quarterback Drew Stanton packing.
Head coach Freddie Kitchens is not one of those people, at least not right now, as he reiterated after Saturday’s game that Stanton is Cleveland’s QB2 as Kitchens likes that Stanton is familiar with the team’s offense.
But Kitchens has also said that he would not mind opening the season with three quarterbacks on the roster, just as the Browns did last season. Kitchens doesn’t want to be caught shorthanded if, heaven forbid, something happens to Mayfield.
If general manager John Dorsey listens to his head coach, then it appears that Gilbert has played himself into third quarterback position.
And if the opportunity were to arise for playing time in the regular season? Well, Gilbert showed on Saturday against the Colts that he is always ready to take advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself.