BEREA, Ohio -- To 10-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas, there is just something different about having a veteran presence at quarterback.
And that is why Thomas, the Cleveland Browns’ stalwart blindside blocker now in his 11th NFL season, expects Brock Osweiler to eventually win the training-camp/preseason competition against DeShone Kizer and Cody Kessler.
“He’s got the ‘It Factor’ when it comes to being a quarterback,” Thomas said. “He’s got the leadership and the understanding and the communication skills that it takes to be a starting quarterback.”
To Thomas, the offense feels a lot different when Osweiler is taking the first-team snaps.
“When he’s in the game or in the practice, it’s got that feel of an NFL quarterback,” Thomas said. “He gets in the huddle, he calls the play with enthusiasm and gets everybody to the line of scrimmage quickly. He gets everybody organized.
“He gets the ball. He drops back. He gets where he’s supposed to be. He throws the ball on time to where it’s supposed to be thrown. It’s not always perfect, but that is like the minimum that you have to have to be a good starting quarterback in the NFL. If you can’t do that, you can’t play in the NFL.”
Following Wednesday’s practice, Osweiler was named the starting quarterback for the team’s Monday Night Football preseason game against the New York Giants at FirstEnergy Stadium on August 21.
Against the New Orleans Saints 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.
“I guess I haven’t thought about my expectations for him, personally,” Thomas said. “I hope, as a whole offense, that we play better than we did in the first game and we show improvement from where we were in the first game.
“The way I see preseason is just making little increments each week, getting a little bit better and getting into a little bit of a rhythm and a flow for when the regular season starts.”
Although Thomas has not heard reports of Osweiler falling out of favor in Houston because he was not liked within the locker room, when they were brought to his attention, the veteran blocker was quick to swat them away just like he does to oncoming edge rushers on Sundays in the fall and focus on the future with the man he thinks will win the starting job.
“If that was the case, I’m surprised because he seems like he’s very easy to get along with,” Thomas said. “He’s got a passion for the game. He’s got enthusiasm, smarts and a will to win, desire to compete. I don’t understand how you could not get along with somebody.”
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