BEREA, Ohio -- Having blocked for 18 different starting quarterbacks over his 10 years with the Cleveland Browns, left tackle Joe Thomas has seen plenty of young signal-callers rushed into games only to be injured or stunted in their development.
And that is one of the many reasons why Thomas feels the Browns should start veteran quarterback Brock Osweiler against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 of the regular season at FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday, September 10.
“To be honest, I don’t think DeShone will be the starter in Week 1,” Thomas said prior to Wednesday’s practice. “I think that it is a competition, but I would expect Brock to win because of his experience. A rookie quarterback is the hardest position to get ready to play in your first year.”
Although Browns coach Hue Jackson was unwilling to name Osweiler the starter for the regular season as of now, he still selected him to lead off next Monday night’s preseason game against the New York Giants at FirstEnergy Stadium.
In a 20-14 win over the New Orleans Saints in the first game of the preseason last Thursday, Osweiler completed six of his 14 attempts for 42 yards, and rushed for 10 yards on a scramble out of the pocket to the left side of the formation. After three straight three-and-outs to start the game, Osweiler led a 13-play, 61-yard drive, but a deflected pass at the goal line on fourth down spoiled the effort.
The first-team offense accounted for 76 yards with Osweiler at the helm.
Kizer played the entire second half and completed 11 of his 18 passes for 184 yards and a 45-yard touchdown in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter to finish off the come-from-behind win over the Saints.
“I know that just because DeShone might be good in a few years doesn’t mean you want to throw him in before he’s ready,” Thomas said. “I’ve been on teams where they throw a guy in there because he’s the first-round pick or he’s the guy the front office says, ‘Well, you’ve got to play this guy,’ and it doesn’t work out the best for the player or the team.
“The team usually ends up losing, and the player loses confidence in himself because they’re just not ready. The game is so complex at any position, and the quarterback position is so detailed and it takes such a level of competence that it’s so difficult for a quarterback to be able to master that in only training camp or one season.”
Admittedly, Thomas believes Kizer has “exceeded most people’s expectations” those far through training camp, and when they share a huddle, the veteran left tackle sees a confident young quarterback hungry to move the ball down the field.
“He’s got to be confident getting back into his drop that he can go through his progressions quickly, throw to his spot, someone is going to be there and it is going to be a completed pass,” Thomas said. “He’s got to have confidence in knowing that he understands the defense and the route concepts. In that respect, I do think he’s making some nice progress, and I’m excited for his future.”
© 2017 WKYC-TV