BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Head coach Hue Jackson has yet to name a starting quarterback for the second preseason game, let alone Week 1, but left tackle Joe Thomas has an idea who it will be.
It’s not the rookie DeShone Kizer.
“To be honest, I don’t think DeShone will be the starter in Week 1,” Thomas said. “It is a competition but I would expect Brock will win because of his experience and a rookie quarterback is the hardest position to get ready to play in your first year.”
While Thomas wasn’t ruling out Kizer, who played well in the second half of the preseason opener against the Saints that saw him throw for 184 yards and complete passes of 52 and 45 yards, he expects Jackson to go with experience out of the gate.
“There’s no doubt he could win the competition,” Thomas said. “I definitely would expect Brock to win it because my personal philosophy [for] a quarterback, it takes 2 or 3 years to have a basic level of understanding of NFL defenses and offenses to be able to operate proficiently out there in the field, especially Week 1.
“That would be asking a lot. Now, I could be wrong, might be going out on a limb here but I think that they’re grooming Brock to be the starter in Week 1 based on what I’ve seen.”
After practice Wednesday Jackson named Osweiler the starter again for Monday night’s preseason game against the Giants and he also weighed in on the 10-time Pro Bowler’s opinion of where he thinks and feels things stand at quarterback.
“Our players all have opinions,” Jackson said. “Joe is here every day and sees what’s going on so that’s good he feels that way. That means Brock is doing some good things in the locker room and on the field. But at the same time Joe knows I get to make that decision.”
Whoever starts in Week 1 – outside of Cody Kessler – would be the 19th different starter that Thomas has blocked for since 1999 and he would be the 27th different starting quarterback overall since the franchise returned in 1999.
Thomas has blocked for 23 total quarterbacks since being drafted third overall in 2007. He’s had 10 different Week 1 starters in 11 seasons while the Browns are set to field their 15th different opening day starter in 19 years.
Maybe that’s why Thomas is hoping – and to a degree expecting – that the Browns won’t rush putting Kizer on the field.
“Just because DeShone might be good in a few years doesn’t mean you want to throw him in before he’s ready,” Thomas said. “I’ve been on teams where they throw a guy in there because he’s the first-round pick or he’s the guy that the front office says, ‘Well you gotta play this guy,’ and it doesn’t always work out the best for the player or the team.
“The team ends up usually losing and the player loses confidence in himself because they’re just not ready.”
Kizer’s debut last Thursday has some expecting him to shoot up the depth chart in rapid fashion with no clear-cut solution at the position available but Thomas echoed some of what Jackson has said on the matter: pump the brakes.
Thomas hopes lessons will be learned from past mistakes made by the organization and they will not rush to play Kizer before he is ready.
“I think DeShone’s done an amazing job and he’s exceeded most people’s expectations, that doesn’t necessarily just mean that he’s ready to be the starter tomorrow,” Thomas said. “There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done before I think he’s ready. You don’t want to see a guy lose his confidence and lose his swagger by being played before he’s ready.”