Hue Jackson has 4 quarterbacks but has no idea who he will turn to come September 10th against Pittsburgh.
As the Browns prepare to begin organized team activities – or OTAs – Cody Kessler will be the name that starts atop the depth chart.
“They will all get reps,” Jackson said Saturday following day 2 of rookie minicamp. “Obviously, Cody [Kessler] will start this out. He deserves the opportunity to. Brock is here and Kevin [Hogan] is, too, but this young man [DeShone Kizer] is going to get reps.”
The Browns of course also have Kevin Hogan and veteran Brock Osweiler on the roster and Jackson insists that a starter for the season will be determined by performance throughout OTAs, the mandatory June minicamp and training camp.
“This thing is open. It really is,” Jackson said. “Cody has done a great job. That is really why I brought his name up first. He has really improved. He has worked his tail off. He deserves the right and the opportunity to walk into this building and walk out there first.”
Kessler started 8 of the 9 games he appeared in completing 65.6 percent of his passes for 1,380 yards with 6 touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. He also left 2 games due to injury and was benched in a third.
“They have to take it from him,” Jackson said. “They better take it from him because I know him – he is not going to give it up. It will be fun. That is what competition is all about. Until someone takes something from someone and shows that they can do it at a high level play in and play out, then we have to keep going in the direction where we’re traveling.”
Jackson still doesn’t seem thrilled with the prospects of having to go with Osweiler, who was acquired March 9 along with a 2018 second-round pick from the Houston. The Texans couldn’t dump him fast enough after signing him to a 4-year $72 million deal in 2016.
“He is competing. He is here. Like I said from the beginning, if a guy is in our locker room, we are going to treat him like any of our other players – that is the right way to handle it – and give him an opportunity to compete and see what they bring to the table,” Jackson said. “In this league, we all know you can’t have enough good quarterbacks and enough guys to train at the position. You never know how it is going to unfold and things do happen.
“He is competing. He has done a good job. He is doing great in the room with the guys. He has been as good as a person in the building. We are going to continue to allow him to do that and see what he has to show for it first and kind of go from there.”
The Browns will pay Osweiler $16 million this year and can dump him after the season with no penalty to their salary