When the Cleveland Browns pulled off the shocking trade with the Houston Texans that landed them quarterback Brock Osweiler and a 2018 second-round pick, there were rumblings that they might even release the embattled quarterback immediately upon the deal going through.
After all, the Texans shipped him out of down just one season into his lucrative four-year, $72 offer, receiving nothing but salary cap relief in return.
Fast forward a couple months and Osweiler not only says that he’s been welcomed by the Browns with open arms, but he thinks he’s the clear choice to be the Week 1 starter.
“My expectation is always to start, but that’s not my decision to make,” Osweiler told reporters at OTAs on Wednesday. “Now, if I came out here and told you guys I wanted to be the backup, I’m in the wrong business.”
“Absolutely, I want to play, and I want to help this football team win games. But I know there is a lot of work that goes into that and ultimately I need to earn that on the practice field, and I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me to do that,” he added.
Cody Kessler took first-team reps and Osweiler began OTAs officially as the No. 2 quarterback. Rookie DeShone Kizer and Kevin Hogan are also on the roster at the position.
But, it seems like Osweiler is welcoming the competition.
“Anytime you’re in a competition with other guys at your position, it brings out the best in you,” Osweiler said. “And it’s certainly the best thing for the team because the best player at that position is going to play and ultimately that should lead to wins,” he noted.
“We’re all pushing each other. We’re all helping each other out. There’s no friction in the room or anything like that. We’re just working as a unit, which is great to see because I think it’s going to bring out the best in everybody,” the quarterback commented.
Osweiler had success with the Denver Broncos during their recent Super Bowl run as Peyton Manning’s backup and led the Texans to a playoff win last season, but fell well short of meeting the expectations that his lucrative deal entailed last year. Overall, he has gone 13-8 as an NFL starter. Kessler, meanwhile, went 0-8 as a starter last season for Cleveland and has never won an NFL game.
“Cody has certainly earned that right [to be the first-team quarterback in OTAs],” Osweiler mentioned. “He played in a lot of football games last year. I think he did a tremendous job for this football team. I’m the new guy on the block. I need to earn my stripes here, if you will, so Cody has certainly earned that right.”
However, that doesn’t mean Brock is going to back down in any way.
“But I can promise you I’m going to work as hard as I possibly can every day because nobody plays this game to be a backup or to lose football games. You play to start and help your football team ultimately win,” he said.
Osweiler is saying all of the right things and by all accounts he’s doing the right things. It remains to be seen how the quarterback battle will shape out, but it seems as though due to his experience alone, he might be the best guy for the job if the team has any intention on winning in 2017.
"I think the proof is in the film for the past two years,” Osweiler pointed out. Whether that’s true or not is debatable, but for a franchise that has been ridiculed for below-average quarterback play for years and years, it’d be a pleasant sight if they made the right decision.
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