Browns pick Brock Osweiler to start their first preseason game

When the Cleveland Browns traded for Brock Osweiler, nobody figured he’d ever start a game for them. Even a preseason game.

The Browns announced first thing Monday morning that Osweiler would start their preseason opener. Cleveland plays the New Orleans Saints on Thursday. Cody Kessler will be the second quarterback in, followed by rookie DeShone Kizer.

“A lot goes into our evaluation but it’s always going to be about efficiently and effectively running the offense,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said, according to the team’s website. “You want your starter to be able to do that despite any circumstance. Brock hasn’t really gotten any first-team reps and this will give him that chance. We look forward to seeing what he can do with this opportunity throughout the week and against the Saints.”

So let’s get this straight. Even though Osweiler has received almost no first-team reps in practice, he’s going to start? That’s … weird. It certainly seems Osweiler is being shopped for a trade. The Browns traded for him from the Houston Texans in what looked like a salary dump by Houston, and immediately reports said the Browns wanted to flip him to someone else. They found no suitors, probably because Osweiler makes a fortune and he was terrible last season. Then the Browns gushed about how good Osweiler looked in OTAs and now are giving him a start even though the coach admits he has not been with the starters in practice. It seems pretty clear what’s going on. Or, this is just the Browns being the Browns.

It’s also possible Osweiler does well enough to at least give the Browns some options. Kessler, entering his second season, is not an exciting starter. Kizer is a raw rookie. Although Kizer has reportedly impressed in training camp, it doesn’t seem ideal to start him Week 1. Osweiler isn’t that far removed from playing a key role on the 2015 Denver Broncos Super Bowl team. Stranger things have happened than Osweiler winning the Browns job.

Who knows what the Browns will do at quarterback. It’s not the worst idea to showcase Osweiler in a potential trade, knowing there will be injuries in August. Heck, the Miami Dolphins just signed Jay Cutler for $10 million out of the Fox broadcast booth. When teams lose their quarterback, they get desperate. But for Osweiler to have any trade value – if the Browns are in fact showcasing him for a deal – Osweiler has to do his part and perform well. We’ll get to see on Thursday.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!