The NFL’s Cleveland Browns have nowhere to go but up. Following a monstrously putrid 2016 season during which the Browns set new standards of futility in staggering to a 1-15 record, the team managed to put together a solid draft.
The Cleveland brain trust resisted the urge to turn their draft into a dumpster fire by staying put and grabbing top rated Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett with the top pick.
Garrett quickly went on record as correctly saying that he can’t be expected to be a “savior” for the perennially moribund team. To say that the Cleveland Browns have been a disaster ever since the original franchise was moved to Baltimore by longtime owner Art Modell is an understatement.
Other than two playoff seasons (both early ousters) the Browns have taken up permanent residence in the division’s cellar ever since the NFL compensated the city with an expansion franchise in 1999.
Despite his physical gifts, Garrett isn’t going to be burdened as the savior but is it possible that another can emerge to assume that role?
What about Brock Osweiler?
The former Houston Texans quarterback who was run out of town on a rail after a rancid season in the Lone Star State and ended up in Cleveland as a throw in on a trade for a draft pick is earning high praise from Browns head coach Hue Jackson.
Hue Jackson is singing the praises of Brock Osweiler https://t.co/u1fxcZjr89
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) May 31, 2017
According to NBC Sports “Hue Jackson: Brock Osweiler has been “outstanding”:
Browns quarterback Brock Osweiler is making a good showing for himself in the team’s quarterback competition.
Cleveland coach Hue Jackson said Osweiler has been better than expected since arriving in a trade with the Texans, who were desperate to unload his contract.
“Brock’s been a pleasant surprise,” Jackson said. “He’s done a good job. He works hard at it every day. He’s into it. I think he really enjoys being here. I think he’s really meshed with the other quarterbacks. He has a good feel to him.”
Zac Jackson of TheAthletic.com says Osweiler has been the best quarterback at the Browns’ Organized Team Activities “by a bunch” and Hue Jackson says all he can judge Osweiler on is what he’s done on Cleveland’s practice field.
“Since he’s been here he’s been outstanding,” he said. “I don’t judge people by what everybody else says, I judge them by what I see. . . . The guy’s been outstanding in our building and that’s what’s most important.”
That would have to be good news for Osweiler who threw a snit when he was benched in favor of Peyton Manning in a critical late season game for the Denver Broncos in 2016 that helped to clinch home field advantage for the eventual Super Bowl champs.
In a must-win game against the division rival San Diego Chargers, Osweiler exhibited all of the grace of a drunken stork with multiple first half turnovers. Enter Manning, exit Osweiler who never got over his hard feelings over the slight and bolted town for a four-year, $72 million contract with the Texans.
The move stunned Broncos leadership including general manager and former star quarterback John Elway as the team had been grooming him as the eventual replacement for Manning and Denver ended up having to start seventh rounder Trevor Siemien who was only marginally better than Osweiler.
But it didn’t work out very well in Houston for Osweiler who had a miserable season marred by horrific on-field brain farts leading to turnovers and mounting friction with head coach Bill O’Brien. His hideous 59 percent completion rating and sixteen interceptions weren’t an argument in his favor and the Texans cut their losses, swallowed the money and dumped him.
He was also disposable due to the Texans’ pursuit of former Dallas Cowboy star Tony Romo who chose to retire instead of suit up again in 2017.
Now there is a clean slate in Cleveland, a team that hasn’t had consistent play at quarterback since the days of Bernie Kosar and that was decades ago. It’s hard not to see Osweiler beating out his competition at the position which includes Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan and rookie DeShone Kizer and despite his myriad problems, he has NFL starting experience.
The Brownies currently have a young and solid if not spectacular cast of offensive players despite letting mercurial playmaker Terrell Pryor bolt to the Washington Redskins as a free agent and replaced him with oft-injured speedster Kenny Britt.
Can Brock Osweiler resurrect his career? Can he raise the Browns from the football dead?
We’ll find out starting on Sunday September 10th when they open at home against the hated division rival Pittsburgh Steelers.