CLEVELAND - The Cleveland Browns currently lead the New Orleans Saints 7-6 at halftime of their preseason opener. Here are three takeaways from the first half of Thursday night's game:
Quarterback battle: TBD
After being named the Browns' No. 1 quarterback earlier this week, Brock Osweiler did little to solidify his starting status. In a quarter-plus worth of action, the former Houston Texan was shaky at best, completing 6 of his 14 pass attempts for 42 yards.
In four series with Osweiler at quarterback, Cleveland converted just three first downs and failed to score a single point. Cody Kessler relieved the Browns' new starter midway through the second quarter and completed all three of his pass attempts for 14 yards on a 21-yard touchdown drive.
Heading into the second half -- and the remainder of the preseason -- Cleveland's quarterback competition appears to remain wide open.
On the bright side for the Browns, first-round picks Myles Garrett and Jabrill Peppers each saw extended playing time in the first half -- and looked good while doing so.
Getting the start at defensive end, Garrett recorded just one tackle -- for a loss -- but applied plenty of pressure to the quarterback while showcasing the skill set that led Cleveland to select him with the No. 1 overall pick in April.
Myles Garrett from a wide alignment. pic.twitter.com/aqWjvLyp63— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) August 11, 2017
Myles Garrett is pretty fast.... pic.twitter.com/q1celX391e— All22ChalkTalk (@All22ChalkTalk) August 11, 2017
Whew, Myles Garrett pic.twitter.com/pF8i6a9s6X— Cian Fahey (@Cianaf) August 11, 2017
Peppers, meanwhile, subbed in at strong safety with the first-team defense after Ibraheim Campbell suffered a concussion on the second play of the game. Peppers' most promising plays, however, came as a kick returner (27 yards) and punt returner (13 yards) where he showed the kind of burst that could make him a dangerous weapon for the Browns moving forward.
Although he began the week buried on the Browns depth chart, third-year defensive end Nate Orchard has looked impressive thus far, registering two tackles, 0.5 a sack and another QB hit.
If Orchard is going to make Cleveland's final roster, the former second-round pick is going to need to continue to continue to show that he can consistently get to the quarterback, as he has throughout Thursday's first half.
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