We’re about six weeks away from the beginning of training camp across the NFL but this week is mandatory minicamp for the Cleveland Browns.
Once again there’s a QB competition in the Dawg Pound and with the Cavs season over, people are starting to focus on the three options for that starting role.
No offense to Kevin Hogan but he’s not a legit option for the starting role and is the odd man out as of now.
The six year veteran wasn’t even expected to be here by many fans and media members’ thoughts at this time three months ago. After the Browns acquired him from Houston along with a 2018 second round pick, it was reported that the Browns were trying to trade him and were willing to pay a significant amount of his $18 million dollar salary.
Well he’s still here and is looking like the front runner for the starting job as of this week. He’s not getting the majority of the first team reps but national reporters like Adam Schefter and Ian Rapoport have said that he’s impressed the coaches so far and has been “the best of the QBs” so far this offseason.
Osweiler has a lot of critics that say he can’t be a starting quarterback in this league after he struggled mightily with Houston last season.
He’s even said himself that his fundamentals slipped last season but he also told reporters that he can be a starter in this league and that the proof was in the film. I don’t know what film he’s watching but he shouldn’t have made that statement.
I still have my doubts that Osweiler will be here by Week 1. It’s obvious the organization didn’t want him and they possibly still don’t want him despite the rave reviews that Hue Jackson and Sashi Brown have told the media.
Quarterbacks around the league get injured during training camp almost yearly. Tony Romo for Dallas and Teddy Bridgewater for Minnesota both were injured and forced those teams to make moves to bring in another quarterback. If one goes down this year, teams may call Cleveland for Osweiler’s services and offer up another draft pick and I’m sure Sashi Brown would pull the trigger because he loves to stockpile draft picks.
One team to watch would be the Indianapolis Colts. Andrew Luck had offseason shoulder surgery and it’s unknown when he’ll be ready. Their options right now are Scott Tolzein and Stephen Morris. Unless they go sign a free agent, trading for Osweiler could always be an option if Luck isn’t ready for the regular season.
The second year quarterback is currently the starter based on reps in practice and Hue Jackson has said numerous times to the media that he’s the man to beat.
Kessler went 0-8 as a starter after being thrusted in after both Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown suffered injuries in the first two games of the season. He completed 65.6% of his passes for 1,380 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions but definitely took his hits and suffered two concussions as a result of those hits.
He worked hard this offseason, throwing with his wide receivers and going on a strict diet to bulk up and add arm strength. Reporters have said his arm does look stronger and has more zip to his throws. However on Tuesday during the first minicamp practice, “3 or 4” passes were batted down at the line of scrimmage which the media blamed on Kessler’s 6’1 frame.
If I had to pick one out of the three quarterbacks to start the season, it’d be Kessler for me. I think judging him on last year is ridiculous. He had to play from behind a lot and with a terrible offensive line, he looked like Colt McCoy during his time in Cleveland. When he had time to throw, granted he sometimes took too long to throw made some plays and had a good chemistry with former Browns receiver Terrelle Pryor.
If he wins the competition, at least give him a few games with the new offensive line and to see what he can do with Corey Coleman, Kenny Britt and the other weapons on offense.
I feel like many were shocked including myself when the Browns drafted him 52nd overall in April’s NFL Draft. The Notre Dame product was ranked the top quarterback for most of the pre-draft process but fell towards the end because of his decision making, accuracy and questionable comments by his college coach Brian Kelly.
Kizer is third in line on the depth chart as of now but is getting some first team reps during minicamp including being first of the quarterbacks during Wednesday’s 11 on 11 session. Hue Jackson obviously loves Kizer and knows how good of a skill set he brings to the table.
I still have my doubts about him and have questions as to why he along with Notre Dame struggled as bad as they did last season and why he dropped as far as he did.
I will say though there’s no denying the kid’s talent and he can be a productive quarterback in the league under Coach Jackson’s coaching. If he’s already making strides during the offseason programs, then there’s a pretty good chance he could start from the beginning of the season.
With the quarterback room not looking too hot, there’s not going to be a great chance to hide Kizer. If he looks better than Kessler and Osweiler, then he should be starting above them.
Hue Jackson isn’t in a position to sit around and wait with the owner likely on his neck to win games or risk the chance of being fired. He needs to get the best option at quarterback on the field no matter who it is and go win some games.