CLEVELAND – If Brock Osweiler is start at quarterback in the Cleveland Browns’ season-opening game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he’ll have to work his way up the depth chart in training camp.
The Browns will open camp on Thursday, and Cody Kessler will begin the fall as the No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart, Cleveland coach Hue Jackson announced Wednesday.
“Cody will walk out there first, and we’ll give him an opportunity there,” Jackson said at a press conference. “Obviously Brock and DeShone (Kizer) and Kevin (Hogan), all those guys, will get reps. I mean, this is a competition. Somebody has to walk out there first. We made the decision it will be Cody, and we’ll kind of go from there.”
Osweiler, the former Kalispell Flathead product who played college football at Arizona State, caught the eye of Browns quarterbacks coach David Lee during spring practices, positioning himself to compete for the starting job this fall.
The Browns traded for Osweiler, 26, in March after he struggled through one season with the Houston Texans. He turned the ball over 17 times (16 interceptions) and passed for only 15 touchdowns with Houston. The Texans signed Osweiler to a contract reportedly worth more than $70 million after he flashed potential with the Denver Broncos, who selected him in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Osweiler started seven games in 2015, passing for 1,967 yards and 10 touchdowns to earn the big contract from the Texans.
But Osweiler never put it together in Houston and was traded to Cleveland in what many considered a salary dump this offseason. Osweiler will compete with Kessler, who started eight games for the Browns last season, for the starting job during fall camp. DeShone Kizer, a rookie second-round pick from Notre Dame, also figures to get a shot to compete for playing time.
“I think DeShone did a good job (in spring practices),” Jackson said. “He’s a very talented player, but he’s still growing, he’s still learning. And we’re looking forward to him competing here in training camp and seeing where he is. All those guys walk out there and compete to play, and I know – we talk about DeShone more than we do Brock and more than we do Kevin, but I think all four of those guys are going to have to have an opportunity to walk out there and compete, because I think that’s the right way to run this.”
The Browns begin training camp on Thursday, and their first preseason game is scheduled for Aug. 10 against the New Orleans Saints.