No matter what they might say, quarterbacks don't come to Cleveland to revive their careers. Brock Osweiler is the latest evidence of this. He was traded to the Browns this offseason, did and said all the right things in the weeks and months since, and even earned the start in the Browns' first preseason game.
But the results looked a lot like what we saw from Osweiler in Houston last season: questionable decision-making, inaccurate passes, and struggling to put points on the board. When it was over, Osweiler was 6 of 14 for 42 yards. He regularly overthrew receivers and didn't convert a first down until his fourth series.
Afterwards, he tried to explain what happened.
"I threw some incomplete passes," Osweiler told reporters, via PFT. "We weren't able to get into a rhythm as an offense. Any time you struggle to get into a rhythm early, you are going to have a slow start to the game. That is what you saw tonight. There are no excuses for that. Honestly, that comes onto my shoulders. I have to find a way to spark this offense early, make plays for this offense early. ...
"I came to the sideline after I was done playing and after that third series, and [David] Lee, our quarterback coach, said, 'Boy Brock, you really have some pop on your ball tonight.' I said, 'You know, I think you're right, Coach.' Honestly, I think it was just a little bit of that preseason game [excitement]. I was excited to be out there again. I was having fun. It is just developing that timing with the receivers. No excuses for it whatsoever. ... That is unacceptable. I have to give my receiver a chance."
Incidentally, the Browns' offense seemed to find its rhythm when rookie DeShone Kizer came into the game. (Osweiler was relieved by Cody Kessler, who went 5 of 10 for 47 yards and Kessler eventually gave way to Kizer.) The rookie was 11 of 18 for 184 yards and this very impressive touchdown pass:
😮😮😮😮@DKizer_14 to @JordanPayton for the 45-yard TOUCHDOWN!#NOvsCLE pic.twitter.com/aU6xIjQv06— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) August 11, 2017
Coach Hue Jackson is asking everyone to please take a deep breath -- one good outing doesn't make you an NFL starting quarterback, at least not yet.
"I think it's way too early to talk about that," Jackson said after the game. "Let's see it for what it was: The guy made some plays at the end to give us a chance to win, but there's still things he needs to do better. I'm sure he's the first to tell there's so many things to clean up. He's got a lot of work to do, but a night like tonight will give him confidence."
We understand why Jackson is cautious but we're on record saying that Kizer should be the regular-season starter. The Browns need to know what they have. Not because they're in win-now mode -- the reality is they aren't, as they continue to rebuild -- but because with their arsenal of draft picks, they can not afford to miss out on a true franchise quarterback. And if Kizer isn't the solution, the organization can turns its efforts to finding one in the 2018 NFL Draft, which could be one of the best classes to come along in a decade.
Meanwhile, it might be time to update the Osweiler hype video.