BEREA, OHIO - Who is going to be the Cleveland Browns starting quarterback? It's the question that looms over the team's training camp.
Two days in and head coach Hue Jackson doesn't appear to be any closer to an answer. But intrigue in Berea's annual quarterback derby is only growing as the Browns head toward their first full contact practice on Saturday.
How have each of the three primary candidates to start for Cleveland in its Sept. 10 opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers performed through the first two days of camp? Let's take a look.
The Good: Entering training camp as the team's first-string signal-caller, Kessler hasn't done much -- if anything -- to dissuade the notion that he's the front-runner to win the Browns' starting job. In two practices, the second-year quarterback has not only played within himself, but showed a stronger arm than he did a year ago, hitting receiver Kenny Britt for a deep touchdown pass on the first day.
The Bad: His bomb to Britt notwithstanding, Kessler still appears more comfortable -- and prone to -- checking down than taking shots downfield. On a team with better offensive weapons, that might be fine. But at this point, the Browns need their quarterback to be a difference-maker.
The Bottom Line: Until further notice, Kessler will remain the front-runner to win Cleveland's vacant starting spot. But if either of the two quarterbacks behind him show the ability to make plays on a consistent basis, he could leave himself susceptible to being bypassed on the depth chart.
The Good: When it's come to making plays, Osweiler has arguably been Cleveland's most consistent quarterback. On Friday, he found Jordan Payton for a deep pass early in practice before finding Jordan Leslie on a similar route.
The Bad: The 6-foot-7 Osweiler, who threw 16 interceptions in 15 games with the Houston Texans last season, still appears turnover prone at times. On Friday, he had a ball tipped by defensive lineman Trevon Coley before it was intercepted by linebacker Dominique Alexander.
The Bottom Line: Osweiler hasn't done enough to surpass Kessler, but through two practices, he might be the Browns' most appealing option. If he can limit his turnovers while showing consistency with his deep ball throughout the next month, he may just be the man to take the field against the Steelers in September.
The Good: The most intriguing of Cleveland's quarterback options, rookie Deshone Kizer has hardly looked overwhelmed in his first two days of training camp and has already shown a strong enough grasp of the offense to handle audibles. The second round pick out of Notre Dame had a strong finish to practice on Friday, firing a completion to Rannell Hall in 11-on-11 drills.
Deshone Kizer with a bullet to Rannell Hall pic.twitter.com/bAygg8aC0F— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) July 28, 2017
The Bad: While Kizer has been steady, he's by no means been spectacular. At this point, it'd be tough to argue he's done enough to pass either of the two quarterbacks currently ahead of him on the Browns' depth chart.
The Bottom Line: Unless either Kessler or Osweiler separate themselves from the pack, Kizer's upside might be the Browns' most appealing option. The Toledo native still has significant strides to make, but until further notice, he looks like a player worthy of consideration to be Cleveland's starting quarterback in 2017.
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