Editor's note: Tony Grossi covers the Cleveland Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR.
More takeaways from Day 9 of Browns training camp …
1. QB shakeup coming: As expected, Hue Jackson didn’t shake up the quarterback rotation in a light practice on Saturday. But he admitted he could announce one Monday and indications are that Brock Osweiler will be the new starter in the practice week and in the preseason opener Thursday night against the New Orleans Saints. Osweiler has seen little, if any, time with the No. 1 units since he joined the Browns in “that” trade on March 9. But Cody Kessler has struggled – he tipped off a pass on Saturday that resulted in a Jamie Collins pick 6 interception – and Osweiler was effective moving the ball in the Friday team scrimmage and finally showed some ability to beat a defense vertically on Saturday, completing a pretty pass of about 40 yards to Rannell Hall, who beat cornerback Trey Caldwell down the left sideline. “We need to throw the ball better,” Jackson said. “Throw the ball better and throw the ball with more urgency, and throw the ball in better spots, but we have to get open, too. It is a combination of both.”
2. Sagging confidence: The biggest tip-off of a switch to Osweiler – and not to rookie DeShone Kizer – was Jackson’s stated desire to win a game on Thursday to set a tone for the preseason. “I want to go through the weekend, go through last night and go through today and really sit down and make what I think is the best decision for our football team for Thursday night,” Jackson said. “That is what is important. I will keep stressing that Thursday night may be different than what the regular season may be. If it is, it is. If it isn’t, then it isn’t, too. My job is to make sure that I put the guy out there who gives us the best chance to score points and help this team win. That is what I’m going to do.” Jackson conceded that he has a different urgency about this preseason than last year, when the Browns went 0-4 in practice games and proceeded to lose 14 in a row in the real season en route to a 1-15 debacle. “I do not want to go 0-4 again,” Jackson said. “I don’t want to feel like that. I don’t think this team deserves that. We need to go out and play good in front of our fans and go win. I don’t care what we are playing. I just think that has got to be our mindset. I think the mindset is different than what it is. If we are going to play, we need to go win. Everybody … says that, but I mean it. We need to go win.”
3. The decision: Jackson said he would consult with Sashi Brown, executive vice president, and Paul DePodesta, chief strategy officer, when contemplating the quarterback switch. “I would love to have their input,” Jackson said. “I want to see what they have seen and how they feel about it, and we will go from there.” Where does this leave Kizer? In the same place he was when entering his first camp – learning the pro game. “You have to make sure that you know when you put him out there what is it that he can do and what he can’t do,” the coach said. “We are asking him to do things that he can do right now. We are not asking him to do things that he can’t. He has done a good job. I think we all have known that, but he is growing. He is getting better. I think last night was eye opening for him. He shared that with you all. I think it was a great experience for him, though. He will grow from that experience really fast the more he plays, just because being in that environment with your teammates in front of fans in a different stadium, it is different. We will have to get used to that.”
4. Tough blow: Receiver Jordan Leslie, who was having a good camp, possibly suffered a concussion when he was accidentally popped in the head by linebacker Dominique Alexander while making a catch over the middle on a ball from Kessler. It was an accident because players weren’t supposed to be taken to the ground even though they were in full pads. “Anytime a guy gets hit in the head like that, there is a possible concussion there,” Jackson said. “We will evaluate that and see exactly where he is.” Before the injury, the team already was in the process of bringing in a new receiver. He is Rasheed Bailey, an undrafted free agent of the Eagles in 2015. The Browns also signed tight end Nate Iese, a converted linebacker from UCLA. Defensive lineman Jamal Marcus and receiver James Wright were released with injury designations.
5. Quarterback update: Passing numbers compiled by ESPN Cleveland’s Jason Gibbs in team drills: Kessler, 6 of 9, one interception, 52 of 81 overall; Osweiler, 7 of 11, 57 of 101 overall; Kizer, 3 of 5, 44 of 85 overall; Kevin Hogan, 1 of 3, 19 of 30 overall.