CLEVELAND — No touchdowns. No sensational plays. No clarity.
Cleveland’s quarterback competition doesn’t seem any closer to a conclusion.
Calling the play of his QBs “spotty” during a scrimmage at FirstEnergy Stadium, Browns coach Hue Jackson said he isn’t ready to name his starting quarterback for the Sept. 11 season opener.
“This thing is still really fluid in my mind,” Jackson said Friday night.
The three-way battle between Cody Kessler, Brock Osweiler and rookie DeShone Kizer — Kevin Hogan doesn’t appear to be in the mix — hasn’t produced a clear leader and Jackson said he’s eager for one of the quarterbacks to separate from the pack.
That just hasn’t happened.
“You want somebody to be head and shoulders above everybody else, but let’s be honest, when you have four guys that you are giving a bunch of reps to, it is hard to do,” Jackson said. “Pretty soon, we have to stop that part of it and move forward with who we think can really go play quarterback for us. That is the fair thing to do.”
Jackson is expected to mix up the rotation in camp over the next few days and he’ll likely name his starter for next Thursday’s exhibition opener against New Orleans early in the week. But that choice may not be the same quarterback he sends on the field for the regular-season opener on Sept. 11 against Pittsburgh.
“It doesn’t mean whichever road we decide to travel for next Thursday, that doesn’t mean that is the starter for the season,” he said. “That might be for a game until we see more. We might need to see more. All of this is good information for me, good data for me, good data for our staff and good data for our executive team to really look at every possibility we have as we move forward.”
While the QB situation is unresolved, the Browns got more reassurance that they made the right pick with the first overall in the draft.
Rookie defensive end Myles Garrett was credited with two sacks, but probably would have had four under normal game conditions.
“I am going with whatever they call. Coach said I had four,” said Garrett. “They blew (the whistle) on two so I am just going to go with two.”
Although no official statistics were kept during the scrimmage, Osweiler unofficially had the best performance, completing 10 of 16 passes for 94 yards and leading the White team to two field goals in four possessions during a 15-0 win over the Brown team.
Kizer, who seems to be gaining more confidence with each practice, went 7 of 14 for 46 yards. But the second-round pick missed an easy touchdown when he badly overthrew wide-open running back Duke Johnson over the middle.
“For him to be that wide open and for me to miss is unacceptable,” Kizer said. “I will go back and obviously, check out the footwork on that play, check out the read, where my eyes are and make sure that we can make the correction going into tomorrow to continue to get better as much as we can. I have played better. This is a unique opportunity to go against the guys in the situation that we are in.”
Kessler completed 4 of 6 passes for 29 yards, and the second-year QB did little to distinguish himself following a rough few days of practice.
Hogan was 5 for 5 for 71 yards, but he picked up major yardage on a play where he appeared was about to get drilled by Garrett.
NOTES: The Browns got a scare on the third play from scrimmage when starting LB Christian Kirksey went down with an apparent leg injury. He walked off the field under his own power and Jackson gave him the rest of the night off. “He could have gone back in, but I shut that down real quickly,” Jackson said. … Rookie S Jabrill Peppers returned punts and got some time with the first-string defense. “He is coming on, just more comfortable, understanding the defense better,” Jackson said. “I saw him smack a couple of people today, which is good. That is who he is and that is what we think he will bring to the table.” … The kicking battle was a draw as rookie Zane Gonzalez made field goals of 39 and 22 yards, and Cody Parkey made his from 40.