The whirlwind months since Brock Osweiler was traded to the Browns reaches a landmark of sorts Thursday when he starts Cleveland's preseason opener against the Saints.
Nothing's settled yet in the Browns' quarterback competition, and Osweiler is well aware. He's not changing a thing, though, as he takes the reins in his first-ever game with the Browns.
ClevelandBrowns.com caught up with Osweiler after his final practice heading into his debut.
ClevelandBrowns.com: What did it mean to learn you were starting and how have you adjusted your preparation going into Thursday's game?
Osweiler: It's certainly exciting knowing that you get to go out and start the preseason opener but it's not going to change anything. It's not going to change my preparation, it's not going to change my routine. I was taught a long time ago whether you're the starter, whether you're the backup, whether you're the third-string quarterback, it's all about preparing like you're going to play. So my preparation hasn't changed and I'm certainly excited for the opportunity.
CB.com: What's been the key for you picking up the offense and being able to orchestrate it the way Hue Jackson wants?
Osweiler: The key is hard work. It's very simple and it truly just boils down to that. Learning a new offense truly starts Day 1 of OTAs in April. I don't know if you guys have seen those playbooks but they're awfully big and there's a lot of late nights and early mornings, a lot of flash cards drawn, a lot of quizzes you give yourself. It's just countless hours and hours and hours going back to April to truly master an NFL playbook.
CB.com: Was there a moment when you felt like you really got it, or has that even happened yet?
Osweiler: It's getting close. I think we're getting really close. The first time I repped some of these plays in the spring, my head was spinning a little bit. Then the second time I repped them in the spring, I felt a little more comfortable. Then by veteran minicamp in June, I felt pretty darn comfortable. Now we come into training camp and I hit training camp running and felt very comfortable from the get-go. Every single day we step foot on the field or for a game, we rep more plays and I become more and more comfortable every single time.
CB.com: How has the team responded since you took over with the first-team offense?
Osweiler: That's probably a better question for coach Jackson because I think he definitely keeps a bird's eye view on the entire team. The one thing I will say is whether I've been with the ones, the twos, the threes, you name it, whatever group I've been with it just really seems like those players step into that huddle extremely focused. My hat is off to all those guys because they all work extremely hard. We have an offensive group here that we might be young, but I promise you we're going to work hard on a daily basis. I'm just very proud of this offensive unit.
CB.com: We've seen you working after practice with receivers such as Corey Coleman. How important has it been to get those extra reps?
Osweiler: It's extremely important. Nothing can replace getting physical reps with your teammates. Nothing. As far as building chemistry, timing, getting on the same page mentally as far as what we're going to do against different looks, nothing replaces practice reps and especially game reps. The more throws I can get with guys like Kenny Britt, Corey Coleman, Ricardo Louis, all the guys who are going to be on the field on game day, I think it's just going to better this football team.
CB.com: Does the dynamic change for you going into this game with the competition at QB still being open?
Osweiler: Absolutely not. I think any time you set foot on an NFL football field, as the quarterback your job and your goal is to get first downs, protect the football, score points for your football team and be a great manager of the game. Whether you're getting reps with the ones, twos, threes, you're the backup, you're the starter, that mentality should never change. You're always trying to go out on the field and putting your best foot forward so my mentality is not going to change at all.
CB.com: What's been your experience in Cleveland like so far?
Osweiler: I love it so much. I really do. I truly love Cleveland. I love being a Cleveland Brown. The culture that's been created here in this organization is incredible. The Haslam family has just truly created a first-class organization. They give us every resource to be successful. Our fans are fantastic. Sashi Brown, coach Hue Jackson, coach David Lee are all tremendous people and they put great players in this building. I really can't say enough great things about this city, about this organization and I'm so thankful I'm here and have this opportunity.
CB.com: Does that add to your anticipation about what Thursday's game and the regular season will be like?
Osweiler: I'm anxious. I'm ready to see what the Dawg Pound is all about. I'm super excited to get out there and go play in FirstEnergy Stadium and play in front of these great fans.
CB.com: What do you try to get out of a preseason game?
Osweiler: Positive plays, protect the football, move forward, get first downs, get touchdowns, put points on the board. Sometimes in the red area you might slow down a little bit, but make a smart play on third down, maybe that's throw the ball away, and get the field goal. If we can get first downs and get positive plays and score points, I think it'd be a good start to our season.
CB.com: How much do you work with the other quarterbacks throughout the game?
Osweiler: I'll be very engaged throughout the whole game. We have a very young offensive group but we have a group that's hungry to learn. I've been very fortunate to be with some veteran players at previous places I've played. I've been around some of the best minds in football, so if there's anything I can share with these younger guys to help them be more successful, I'm not going to hold back.