Brock Osweiler: The QB fans don’t want but one that Browns may need

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns are discovering that while Brock Osweiler may not be a quarterback that many want, he is one that the team needs.

Late on the afternoon of March 9, the Cleveland Browns surprised everyone by completing a trade with the Houston Texans for quarterback Brock Osweiler and a second-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft.

About 20 minutes after the shock of the deal wore off everyone – except for executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown and head coach Hue Jackson – determined that Osweiler was simply passing through town and would never do so much as even step foot on the practice field in Berea, let alone start a game for the Browns.

But a strange sequence of events have happened in the ensuing five months.

Related: It’s OK to be patient with DeShone Kizer

Quarterback Cody Kessler continued to be what he is – a solid option as a team’s backup quarterback – and the Browns selected quarterback DeShone Kizer in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Kizer was not ready to be a day one starter when drafted, and while he has made considerable improvement, the Browns have been telling everyone who will listen that he may still not be ready come Sept. 10.

Meanwhile, Osweiler came to town, kept his wits about him, and slowly but surely inserted himself into a position where he may very well open the season as Cleveland’s starting quarterback. Osweiler started the preseason opener and will start again Monday night when the Browns host the New York Giants.

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While many point to the third preseason game as the key date for naming a starter, the decision may have already been made as every quarterback since 2003 that has started Cleveland’s first preseason game has been the opening day starter.

That is a harsh reality for some fans and media members, who have wanted nothing to do with Osweiler from day one. That is understandable, of course, if you only focus on Osweiler’s one season with the Texans, when he completed 59 percent of his passes, threw 15 touchdown passes against 16 interceptions, and finished with a quarterback rating of 72.2.

Of course, placing all the blame on Osweiler may not be fair, as he played for head coach Bill O’Brien, who has gone through eight starting quarterbacks in his three seasons in Houston. O’Brien is turning into a quarterback killer; could it be that he is the reason that Osweiler did not play as well with the Texans as he did in 2015 with the Denver Broncos?

To get some insight into what went wrong in Houston, we turned to Paul Jackiewicz at Toro Times for some answers. Here is what Paul had to say:

"“Bill O’Brien’s offense was too complicated for Osweiler and it just wasn’t a good fit for him. The Texans made a knee-jerk decision when deciding to sign Osweiler instead of really finding out if he was a good fit. In order for Osweiler to be successful, the Browns need to make things simple like the Broncos did. If he gets overwhelmed or uncomfortable in the offense, the Browns will be in trouble. Osweiler can be a solid quarterback, maybe somebody comparable to Jay Fieldler.”"

So to have any hope of success – and possibly be better than Jay Fiedler – the Browns need to keep it simple with Osweiler, at least until he gets comfortable. That dovetails with what Sayre Bedinger at Predominantly Orange had to say when we asked him about Osweiler, pointing out that a strong running game and offensive line, along with a supportive coaching staff, will go a long way toward maximizing what Osweiler brings to the field.

The biggest thing holding Osweiler back, according to Bedinger, is that the sixth-year veteran is consistently inconsistent:

"“There’s no doubt he has the talent to be a functional QB in the NFL. What Osweiler has yet to prove is any sort of consistency. That, in my opinion, takes years of experience. He doesn’t have that yet, so the more he plays the better understanding he’ll have of what defenses are trying to do. I think playing for Hue Jackson will be huge for him in that regard.”"

This isn’t to present Osweiler as the answer to the Browns quarterback woes, but rather to point out that there may actually be something for the coaching staff to work with. Average his stats from his seven starts in Denver in 2015 and he would have thrown for almost 4,500 yards and 23 touchdowns – which would be parade-worthy from a Cleveland quarterback after what we’ve all witnessed in recent years.

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But even if he can’t be that quarterback, all Osweiler needs to be is competent enough for long enough so that Jackson can turn the team over to Kizer at a time of his choosing.

Osweiler may not be a quarterback that many fans or media members want, but he may turn into the quarterback that the Browns need in 2017.