BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Hue Jackson’s decision to bump Cody Kessler and have Brock Osweiler start the preseason opener wasn’t much of a surprise.
At least it shouldn’t have been to anyone who has watched any of the first 9 practices of training camp.
Osweiler came to Cleveland in the trade with Houston back in March with the door all but shut on him. His name was an afterthought in the press release announcing the trade with the Texans, but now opportunity knocks with him getting to start Thursday night against the New Orleans Saints.
“No gratification,” Osweiler said prior to Monday’s practice. “Bottom line, a lot of work still needs to be done and I think this football team knows that. Coach Jackson is preaching it every single day. This is just one step, but there’s a lot of work to be done.”
What he looks to accomplish against the Saints is pretty simple.
“Finding a way to get first downs and scoring points. That summarizes playing quarterback in the National Football League,” Osweiler said. “If you protect the football, find a way to get first downs, and you put touchdowns on the board – sometimes you have to settle for field goals; sometimes a throwaway in the red zone is the best possible play, that’s our job.”
The Miami Dolphins reportedly inquired about Osweiler’s availability ESPN’s Adam Schefter said on the Dan Patrick Show Monday morning but “Cleveland really wasn’t interested in parting ways with him,” Schefter told Patrick.
“Nothing was inquired to me,” Osweiler said in regards to the Dolphins reported interest before they ultimately signed Jay Cutler. “I’m only going to worry about the things I can control, but I definitely do have a ton of respect and admiration for Coach Gase. He is a great football coach.”
Meanwhile Cody Kessler, who had been the No. 1 QB since the offseason program began in April, took the demotion in stride.
“It’s just another opportunity,” Kessler said. “Obviously it’s coach Jackson’s decision and the only way you can control things like that is by the way you play on the field.”
That’s been the problem for him in his second NFL training camp.
Kessler is the only quarterback of the top 3 on the depth chart that hasn’t led a single touchdown drive in any of the 9 practices and he’s struggled to consistently move the offense down the field, even though at times in situational drills – red zone and goal line – he has helped get the ball in the end zone.
“You gotta continue to make plays when they’re there,” Kessler said.
“I think I’m still learning,” Kessler added. “And that’s the best part about that position is you see some of the greats in this league that play so well as you continue to improve and learn from them, continue to watch film.
“That’s my mindset, do everything I can to make myself better as a player.”
It’s unclear of just how many snaps Osweiler will get Monday night but traditionally a starting QB in the first preseason game plays 1 quarter or the first 2-3 offensive series depending on their length.
“I don’t know how many plays I’m going to play,” Osweiler said. “You can never go into a game with that specific mindset. The key is making the most of all the plays you do get, and that’s what I’m going to try to do.”
Rookie DeShone Kizer will be third on the depth chart Thursday night which means he’ll likely get his work in during the third quarter.
“The scrimmage was the same way,” Kizer said. “I think this is just anther step in the process of me trying to get better. This whole training camp is about me developing and then going out and performing when my number is called.”
Kizer admitted resolving the competition once and for all would be good for everybody.
“I think it’s very vital,” Kizer said. “There needs to be a pecking order in order for the leadership to happen the way it needs to.”