BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – The moment DeShone Kizer and Deshaun Watson were named starting quarterbacks Browns-Texans immediately got circled on the schedule.

It was to be an opportunity to see DeShone square off with Deshaun after the Browns traded out of 12 in April to give Watson to the Texans while scooping up Kizer in the second round – No. 52 overall.

The trade with Houston for their 2018 first-round pick was supposed to be a stroke of genius masterminded by chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta and executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown, but it could be just one of many moves they’ve made that could lead to them ultimately being fired.

Watson has been spectacular for the Texans since taking over as their starter while Kizer is now holding a clipboard.

We won’t even mention what Carson Wentz is doing for the Philadelphia Eagles. Psst: he’s won 11 games while allegedly playing so poorly according to some that thankfully the Browns, who have racked up 11 wins total since the start of 2014, avoided that disaster.

Quarterbacks are supposed to make their supporting casts better and bring out the best in them. Watson is already showing that ability. So has Wentz. Cody Kessler and Kizer, evaluated and drafted by DePodesta and Brown, haven’t.

With the race on for the No. 1 pick in 2018 and the Browns the clear front runners to land it, how can DePodesta and Brown be trusted to find the next quarterback?

Meanwhile Hue Jackson might be desperately trying to win a game, which was the motive for him going to Kevin Hogan this week, but it’s clear the front office isn’t really interested in giving him much help. Those high draft picks mean too much to their master plan, which they’re trying to disguise as still “wanting to win.”

If Brown and DePodesta really wanted to help Jackson win they would’ve done more than sign Kenny Britt to shore up the receiving corps this offseason.

They would’ve not thrown away $32.225 million on Britt and Brock Osweiler. Owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam have every right to be upset because there had to have been a better way to spend that kind of cash to actually improve a 1-15 team, not make it worse.

They could’ve kept veteran quarterback Josh McCown, who beat them Sunday and has already won 3 games for the perceived to be hapless Jets, instead of throwing Kizer to the wolves if he really wasn’t ready. If McCown wasn’t a satisfying option they could’ve signed Colin Kaepernick or another veteran rather than going with Kizer, Hogan and Cody Kessler this year.

They should’ve kept Cody Parkey instead of taking a victory lap for hanging on to their seventh-round kicker Zane Gonzalez, who cost them a game Sunday against the Jets.

They did spend $120 million to shore up the offensive line by signing JC Tretter, Kevin Zeitler and extending Joel Bitonio so at least that problem was addressed.

Then again, maybe this really was the master plan to sabotage the roster to ensure higher picks in April.

Emmanuel Ogbah, Joe Schobert and Seth DeValve show the most promise from the class of 2016. Myles Garrett is as good as advertised, as is David Njoku. Jabrill Peppers too from this year’s class.

But it all comes down to the quarterback.

If Watson, who has already thrown 5 and 4 touchdowns in a game this season for the Texans, lights the Browns up Sunday, it could be the beginning of the end for both DePodesta and Brown. There’s little evidence to show ownership that their plan is working while the losses mount in record numbers, other than their ability to stockpile draft picks.

Players win games – especially quarterbacks – not draft picks.

Unless things improve soon, it could be really hard for the Haslams to justify staying the course with Brown and DePodesta and letting them find the 29th QB since 1999.


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