The View From Pluto: Another Year, Another Browns Quarterback Competition

Aug 9, 2017

The quarterback competition is back on in Cleveland. The team that’s had 26 starting quarterbacks since 1999 is again trying to figure out who will play this season.

In a surprise move, coach Hue Jackson named veteran Brock Osweiler the starter for Thursday’s pre-season opener against New Orleans. Osweiler was traded to the Browns in the spring and was considered an afterthought

WKSU commentator Terry Pluto talks about another year of quarterbacks in Cleveland.  

Pluto says Jackson went with Brock Osweiler because the coach hasn’t been impressed with his other quarterbacks.

And he says he’s surprised the Browns hadn’t considered Osweiler a starter when he was traded to the team from Houston in March, mostly so the Browns could acquire second-round 2018 pick. It was speculated the team would either try to flip Osweiler in a trade or cut him altogether. Osweiler lost his starting job in Houston last season.

“He has a 13-8 record as a starter, and they seemed dismissive of him. This is a team with every quarterback on the roster right now -- Cody Kessler, DeShone Kizer and Kevin Hogan -- none of them have won an NFL game.”

“The Browns have played an average of three quarterbacks per year every year for the last five seasons,” Pluto says. “So the fact that Brock Osweiler is starting now doesn’t mean he’s going to be starting Game 16.” Hue Jackson said he hasn’t made up his mind about who will play going forward.

Throw the rookie in the frying pan?

Pluto says he disagrees with some fans who say that rookie DeShone Kizer should start. Kizer was a second-round draft pick. He’s 6’4” and 230 lbs. “He had a very up and down career at Notre Dame. He had a very good first season in 2015 and very rocky second season,” Pluto says.

“Fans who say it’s time to throw him in to the frying pan….opening game against Pittsburgh? He could get hurt. Or crushed. Or demoralized. Or all three. There is a usual progression that helps you become a good quarterback, and experience is important,” Pluto says.

And Pluto says the Browns could benefit from Osweiler’s durability. Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown, for example, suffered-season ending injuries early last year. “Game three, the Browns were already on their third starting quarterback,” Pluto says.

“Unless he ends up messing up, I think [Osweiler] is going to end up starting the opener.”

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