The Browns, by all appearances, gave Brock Osweiler the starting quarterback assignment for Week One of the preseason as a two-fold test. First, could he get ready to play effectively as the starter on short notice, which any backup quarterback must be able to do? Second, could he take charge of the starting offense, prompting the locker room to clamor for him to be the guy?
By all appearances, Osweiler failed on both counts.
Though he didn’t say so in those words, Osweiler said enough to allow that conclusion to be drawn.
“I threw some incomplete passes,” Osweiler told reporters. “We weren’t able to get into a rhythm as an offense. Any time you struggle to get into a rhythm early, you are going to have a slow start to the game. That is what you saw tonight. There are no excuses for that. Honestly, that comes onto my shoulders. I have to find a way to spark this offense early, make plays for this offense early.”
As to the incompletions, some of them were the result of Osweiler putting too much oomph on the ball.
“I came to the sideline after I was done playing and after that third series, and [David] Lee, our quarterback coach, said, ‘Boy Brock, you really have some pop on your ball tonight.’ I said, ‘You know, I think you’re right, Coach.’ Honestly, I think it was just a little bit of that preseason game [excitement]. I was excited to be out there again. I was having fun. It is just developing that timing with the receivers. No excuses for it whatsoever. . . . That is unacceptable. I have to give my receiver a chance.”
The problem for Osweiler is that was his chance to deliver. His shot. His moment. Whatever term that gets used, coach Hue Jackson wisely created a scenario aimed at testing Osweiler. And Osweiler didn’t deliver.
Jackson knows it. After the game, he was asked whether Osweiler’s overthrows were the result of unfamiliarity with the receivers.
“No, he can make those plays,” Jackson said.
Jackson specifically wanted to see if Osweiler would make those plays when thrust into the starting role with only three days to get ready for it. While he may get another opportunity to show that he can run the starting offense the way that Jackson wants it to be run, Osweiler is 0-1 on the question of whether he can step up and perform like the starter when given the chance to do so.