CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – It doesn’t appear that quarterback Brock Osweiler will remain in Cleveland beyond Saturday.
Osweiler did not play in Thursday night’s 25-0 win over the Bears in Chicago. He also sat out the dress rehearsal at Tampa Bay as head coach Hue Jackson elected to get extended looks at young quarterbacks Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan after naming rookie DeShone Kizer his starter on Sept. 10 against the Steelers.
Kizer was given the preseason finale off as Kessler and Hogan handled the first and second halves respectively.
Cleveland acquired Osweiler in March from Houston, but the key to that trade was the 2018 second-round draft pick that also came from the Texans.
Should no one be willing to trade for Osweiler, the Browns would have to pay his $16 million salary in full. Even if they find a trade partner it is likely they’d be asked to pick up a massive chunk of that salary.
Cutting Osweiler would be anticlimactic considering he wasn’t originally even expected to be around for training camp and wasn’t mentioned until the final sentence of the press release from the Browns announcing the trade.
– Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown is ready for a very busy weekend as the Browns will cut at least 29 more players, scan the waiver wire for help and fill out their practice squad by Sunday afternoon.
“Its going to be a little crazy this year with the single cut for 90 to 53, a lot more names come out at the same time but you have some cap casualties and veteran cuts, but we’ll be ready,” Brown said prior to the game on the Browns radio network.
“We are looking for young guys that can be in our pipeline and develop with us but that doesn’t mean that we won’t look at some veterans if those guys are released and available to us.”
By virtue of finishing 1-15 in 2016 and having the top pick in the draft, the Browns open the season with the top priority for waiver claims. Rosters around the NFL have to be down to 53 by 4 p.m. eastern on Saturday.
– Kevin Hogan has played the last few weeks against third- and fourth-team defenses but he continues to impress and make a case to be the No. 2 QB or be put on the 53-man roster instead of going through waivers and landing on the practice squad. Hogan was 13 of 18 for 180 yards, 2 touchdowns and a 141.0 rating in the second half in Chicago.
Why was Hogan impressive? He went to his third read on the touchdown throw to a wide open tight end Randall Telfer, again on a 35-yard completion to Seth DeValve and then on his second TD of the night – to receiver Jordan Leslie from 21 yards out – he threw a perfect ball to the back corner of the end zone.
– Cody Kessler started slow but was efficient in the first half completing 11 of 19 passes for 144 yards, a touchdown and a rating of 99.5. He was sacked 3 times but head coach Hue Jackson blamed those on the protection during a halftime interview with 92.3 The Fan mid-day host and News 5 sports director Andy Baskin. Will Kessler be named Kizer’s backup or will he be cut? The answer will come soon.
– Leslie made the strongest case of the receivers that are on the bubble to make the team Thursday night by catching 3 of his 7 targets for 50 yards and a score. One of his catches was a highlight reel-worthy 1 handed grab over the middle in the first half from Kessler. Leslie did have a bad drop that hit him right in the hands on the next throw to him but in the second half he redeemed himself by adjusting well in the end zone to haul in the TD toss from Hogan.
– Gregg Williams’ defense had quite the preseason. His unit didn’t allow a single touchdown over the final 3 preseason games. Rookie defensive end Karter Schult had a big night finishing with 1.5 sacks, 4 tackles, 2 QB hits, 2 tackles for loss and combining to help net a safety. Linebacker B.J. Bello, who appears to be on the outside looking in as far as making the team, did all he could to help himself with 3 tackles, a sack, 2 quarterback hits and a tackle for loss.
– Rookie Zane Gonzalez may have won the kicking job Thursday night – even though he clanked a PAT off the upright in the second half – thanks to a 53-yard field goal that was into the wind as well as 3 touchbacks on his kickoffs. Cody Parkey registered touchbacks on 1 of his 2 kickoffs and made both of his PAT attempts.
– The Browns finished the preseason 4-0 for the first time since 1986, and the fifth time overall in team history.