Starting Osweiler The Least Risky Move

The big news of the week in Cleveland seems to be that Hue Jackson named Brock Osweiler to be the starting quarterback in the Browns’ first pre-season game Thursday night against the Saints.

First, it’s a pre-season game, and certainly Jackson can change his mind between now and September 10th when the Browns and Steelers get together.

Second, it seems that the coaching staff and front office are showing everyone they are pumping the brakes on DeShone Kizer.

We have been critical of Osweiler in the past, and have pointed out on a few occasions that Cody Kessler had more games with a passer rating of over 100 in his rookie season than Osweiler has had in his career.

However, it appears that Kessler hasn’t progressed as the coaching staff hoped, still dinking and dunking and reticent to throw the ball downfield.

And we have been consistent in saying the Browns need to resist the temptation to throw Kizer to the wolves before he is ready.

Cleveland has done that before with other young quarterbacks and it hasn’t worked.  Didn’t someone say those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it?

Complicating things for some fans as well as those in the media is that the Browns went 1-15 a year ago.  They have to start winning some football games, not for the fans, but to start building a winning atmosphere in the locker room.

It may be right now, that Osweiler gives the team the best chance to put up some “W’s”

After all, his supporters will point out the former Bronco and Texan has a 13-8 record as a starter.

We would counter that argument that the former Arizona State standout tooks snaps for two teams that have incredible defenses.

It is a fact that he is the only QB on the roster who has started and won an NFL game.

So, Osweiler will get a chance to resurrect his career starting Thursday night.  And why not, the coaching staff has to know what they have in Kessler and they don’t want to rush Kizer, so why not see if Osweiler can get the job done.

Remember, he was a throw in last spring in a trade for a second round draft pick. When the Browns announced the trade, the pick was mentioned first.

The point is, what does Jackson have to lose?  Osweiler played the best in Friday night’s scrimmage, and he has starting experience.

If he looks good throughout the preseason, he will claim the job against Pittsburgh in the season opener.

That doesn’t mean we would rule out Kizer, we just wouldn’t force him into the job.  If he is clearly the best QB in practice and the games, then he should start.

But he shouldn’t start because he might be the franchise quarterback in a few years, or because he’s big, has a strong arm, and is mobile.  Let him observe, get used to the speed of the game, and show something when he gets his opportunity.

Remember, he was a second round pick, so if the Browns would get the first pick in next year’s draft, they can still take Sam Darnold of USC or however the top college QB is after this upcoming season.

So, Jackson is taking the least risk is seeing what Osweiler can do.  It doesn’t mean he will open the year as the starter, but right now, it’s his job to lose.

JD

Shocking Trade A Positive For Browns Front Office

The front office of the Cleveland Browns continues to do business in an unorthodox way, which, of course, is why they can polarizing among both the national and local media.

They aren’t “football guys”, we know that, and the Browns went 1-15 last year, so it’s hard to put any trust in them, but we feel they are laying the groundwork for the future.

That should have been done in 1999 when Cleveland came back into the NFL, and it could have been done several times and several regimes since, but instead the franchise went for quick fixes, and have just two winning seasons and one playoff spot in 17 seasons.

The most surprising and talked about move was the trade with the Houston Texans, involving QB Brock Osweiler.

The first reaction was this is who the Browns want to move forward at the quarterback?  The guy benched by the Texans before his first season ended after inking a deal paying him $18 million?

Instead as more details came out, Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta simply gave up some salary cap space, of which the Browns have plenty, to get a 2018 second round draft pick, which Houston had to throw in the deal for Cleveland to take Osweiler.

The old guard didn’t understand the move, Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian blasted the move hours after it happened.

A day later, when Terrelle Pryor signed with the Redskins, the Browns were hammered for giving away cap space instead of reaching an agreement with the wide receiver.

Now we hear fans wondering why the Browns just don’t give Osweiler a shot at the job in training camp.

First, Cleveland still has almost $70-80 million (depending on the source) in salary cap space, and let’s face it, there aren’t enough quality free agents remaining to spend that kind of money this off-season.

So, the money isn’t an issue.

And the Browns get to add to their cadre of high draft picks they have accumulated over the next two drafts.  Obviously, if you are afraid of success in drafting, then having more picks gives you a better chance to get good players.

As for Osweiler, his season last year was a nightmare, and although he get a lot of credit for winning with Denver in 2015, there are plenty of questions about him.

He’s made 22 career NFL starts and has two games with a passer rating of over 100.0.  Before you challenge us, we know that passer rating isn’t the end all in evaluating quarterbacks.

By contrast, Browns’ rookie QB, Cody Kessler, has three games with a rating higher than 100.0 last season.  If you complete a good percentage of throws and avoid interceptions, you will have a good rating.

Remember also that the Texans went to the playoffs last year, so obviously Bill O’Brien felt strongly that Tom Savage gave his team a better chance to win.

Meanwhile, here is a memo to all media people in Cleveland…We are pretty sure the Browns know they need a quarterback, and they will get one this off-season, whether it is drafting one early or getting one in a trade (Jimmy Garoppolo).

So, please stop with the idea the front office hasn’t done a good job because they haven’t addressing the “most important position in professional sports”!

Relax, they know it’s a problem.  They will take care of it.

Until then, can we get off the notion that Brown, DePodesta, and the analytical people don’t know what they are doing?

JD