How to judge if Brock Osweiler is successful in the preseason opener?
By Thomas Moore
The Cleveland Browns have turned to Brock Osweiler as the starting quarterback for tonight’s preseason game. Does he have enough to hold onto the job?
Cleveland Browns quarterback Brock Osweiler will join a long, if not particularly distinguished, list of quarterbacks when he takes the field Thursday night in the preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints.
Osweiler will not only be attempting to further tighten his grip on the starter’s role for the season-opening game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he will continue his quest to prove that he is just not a taller version of Trent Dilfer, Jeff Garcia, Jason Campbell, Jake Delhomme and the rest of the quarterbacks that have called Cleveland home since 1999.
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It is easy to over-react to preseason results – just think back to a year ago when fans were having feverish dreams of Robert Griffin III teaming up with Josh Gordon and Terrelle Pryor to form a brown-and-orange juggernaut.
So while the final score may not matter, Osweiler still has to show head coach Hue Jackson something during the limited time he will be on the field if Osweiler does not want to be thrown back into the mix with DeShone Kizer, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan.
Looking at the past four preseason openers, the results show that, with one glaring exception, the presumptive starter has fared pretty well:
- In 2013, Brandon Weeden was 10-of-13 for 112 yards
- In 2014, Brian Hoyer was six-of-14 for 92 yards
- In 2015, Josh McCown was a sizzling five-of-five for 33 yards and a touchdown
- In 2016 , Griffin was the outlier by going four-of-eight for 67 yards and an interception, while posting a 39.1 quarterback rating. That should have been a sign.
As long as Osweiler makes it through the game without getting injured, and looks mostly competent in the process, he will be at least on even ground with the four quarterbacks that preceded him as the starter in the first preseason game of the year.
Of course, all those quarterbacks are now either playing with another team or out of the league, but there will be plenty of time to discuss Osweiler’s future employer down the road.
Stats are nice, and putting a touchdown or two on the board would be good, which is basically how Osweiler will judge if his time on the field is a success, according to clevelandbrowns.com:
"“Positive plays, protect the football, move forward, get first downs, get touchdowns, put points on the board. Sometimes in the red area you might slow down a little bit, but make a smart play on third down, maybe that’s throw the ball away, and get the field goal. If we can get first downs and get positive plays and score points, I think it’d be a good start to our season.”"
That may sound a bit pedestrian, but it is not a bad way to go into the game. This is the first look the Browns will have at another team and Osweiler has only had a handful of practices with the first-team offense. Get the offense lined up, look like you belong on the field, and exit without getting hurt and Osweiler and the offense will have something to build on.
Osweiler may not be the quarterback that some Browns fans wanted, but until Jackson determines that Kizer is ready, Osweiler is the best quarterback the team has.
Next: Starting Osweiler clouds QB competition
His quest to continue holding that title enters its next phase tonight against the Saints. The bar is a low one, lets see if Osweiler has what it takes to clear it.