Browns quarterback Brock Osweiler will start the team's preseason opener against New Orleans, head coach Hue Jackson announced Monday.
"A lot goes into our evaluation but it's always going to be about efficiently and effectively running the offense," Jackson said. "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."
After watching film from Saturday's mock game and Friday's Orange & Brown Scrimmage, Jackson also outlined a retooled quarterback rotation: quarterback Cody Kessler will follow Osweiler while rookie DeShone Kizer and Kevin Hogan will take the field after that. Kessler, who started eight games as a rookie last season, had previously repped with the first-team offense since offseason workouts.
Though Thursday night's opener at FirstEnergy Stadum marks a shift, Jackson has made clear the rotation could change by the time the Browns host Pittsburgh in their season opener Sept. 10.
"I'm pleased with the way our quarterbacks have competed and improved throughout the offseason and training camp," he said. "We are going to see a lot more of all of them this preseason and everyone in that room still has the chance to earn more opportunities and the right to lead our team as the starter when the regular season begins."
Osweiler, who started 14 games in Houston last season, went through a series of highs and lows with the Texans before being traded to Cleveland in March. He later said it was an unexpected transaction, but the sixth-year quarterback took it all in stride.
"There was a coach that I played for in college and he told me, 'Only worry about the things that you can control," Osweiler said in May. "And so from the time of the trade that's all I've done. From the day I arrived, you couldn't have been welcomed in a better way."
Since then, Jackson has described Osweiler as a "pleasant surprise" as he learns the ins and outs of the Browns' offense. That came to a head in last week's training camp practices and Orange & Brown Scrimamge.
"I was really pleased with his progression. I was really pleased with the offensive line giving him time, and he was able to shift and move. Brock has really improved," Jackson said. "I go back and watch his tape often, and he has really made a lot of strides that way – planting, rhythm, getting rid of the ball and making decisions. All of our guys are working hard. They're all competing and trying to get better, and that's a good thing."