The Cleveland Browns may have looked at Brock Osweiler as an afterthought, but he is doing what he can to change that perception.
The Cleveland Browns have had a strange relationship with quarterbacks over the past two decades – and that is putting it mildly.
But even by those often bizarre standards, Brock Osweiler has had an odd first few months with the team.
Osweiler was essentially a thrown in as part of one of the first (if not the first) salary dump trade in NFL history. The Browns were far more interested in acquiring a second-round pick from the Houston Texans and were expected to quickly move on from Osweiler and his $16 million guaranteed salary.
That didn’t happen and, suddenly, Osweiler now finds himself running drills with the Cleveland offense as the team goes through the opening stages of Organized Team Activities.
Osweiler met with the media on Wednesday and said that time has helped to heal any wounds he had from being traded, according to clevelandbrowns.com:
"“There was a coach that I played for in college and he told me only worry about the things that you can control. From the time of the trade, that is what I have done, and I couldn’t be any more excited to be here. From the day I arrived, you couldn’t have been welcomed in a better way. This has been an incredible experience so far. Right now, I’m just trying to work hard, learn the system and be a great teammate.”"
With much of the focus being placed on second-year quarterback Cody Kessler, who is currently holding the QB1 slot, and rookie DeShone Kizer, who is getting personal attention from head coach Hue Jackson this week, Osweiler has just sort of been … around.
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And while everyone has been quick to dismiss Osweiler having a role on the Browns, stranger things have happened.
It is important to remember that this time last year Osweiler was essentially Jimmy Garoppolo, a quarterback the Browns were reportedly lusting after all winter. Osweiler had “learned from” quarterback Peyton Manning in Denver, had seen some successful game action, and was being offered a very nice contract from the Broncos.
Osweiler opted to sign a deal with the Texans, where things did not work out as expected. Some of that was clearly Osweiler’s fault, but some of the blame should be placed on head coach Bill O’Brien, who might be the Garoppolo of head coaches as O’Brien’s claim to fame is that he was “tough” on Tom Brady when they worked together in New England.
An alleged quarterback expert, O’Brien has gone through eight starting quarterbacks and counting in his three years as Houston’s head coach. Perhaps part of Osweiler’s failings in Houston were due to the fact that O’Brien couldn’t figure out how to put Osweiler in a position to succeed.
This isn’t to make a case for the Browns handing the starter’s role to Osweiler, but as long as he is with the team they shouldn’t treat him as an afterthought.
With the way things turned out in Houston it would have been easy for Osweiler to pout and be a pain in Cleveland. But to his credit, he has decided to be a professional about the situation, according to the team’s website:
"“Right now, I’m out here at practice, I’m trying to learn this system to the best of my ability, trying to be a great teammate, doing things with guys outside of the building and working hard inside of it. I’m only going to worry about the things I can control – my effort, my attitude, how hard I work, how hard I study, and that is really what my focus is on right now.”"
That may not sound like much, but given the way that we’ve seen other quarterbacks act when things didn’t go their way, it is refreshing.
It’s also a smart play by Osweiler. The NFL remains a league started for quarterback play and other teams will be keeping an eye on how things play out for Osweiler with the Browns. If he puts in the work and acts like a pro, if he doesn’t stick with the Browns come September, there will likely be another team out there in need of a quarterback.
The Browns may not currently have the most NFL-ready group of quarterbacks, but they certainly have a room that is free of drama.
And for the third week in May, that is a pretty good place to be.