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Hue Jackson wants to put Browns QB competition 'to bed' this week

CLEVELAND -- Hue Jackson would like to name a starting quarterback later this week.

The Browns second-year head coach said he plans on doing so Wednesday with an eye trained on the team's approaching season opener against the Steelers in less than three weeks.

"I kind of want to say, 'Here's where we're going,'" Jackson said following Monday's preseason win against the Giants. "Whatever decision we make, we make. We're going to make the best one for the Browns."

In what's been an ongoing competition since OTAs, the Browns have watched Brock Osweiler, DeShone Kizer and Cody Kessler split reps in an effort to figure out who among them is best fit to lead their offense this fall.

Monday night offered Jackson and the coaching staff yet another look in what the head coach described as "spotty" offensive play throughout a game dominated by defense.

In his second straight preseason start, Osweiler, the six-year veteran and former Texans starter, completed 6-of-8 passes for 25 yards and an interception through two series. Meanwhile, Kizer — the rookie from Notre Dame and second-round NFL Draft pick — played the most of the Browns quarterbacks, completing 8-of-13 throws for 74 yards and took two sacks. He also ran five times for 35 yards and a touchdown.

Asked if this would all be a difficult decision, Jackson smiled.

"We'll see," he said, laughing. "I need to watch the tape and honestly answer that question, but I have an idea in my mind, based on what I felt and what I saw from our football team, so we'll just kind of go from there." 

In outlining the decision to name a starter, Jackson spoke of repetition and timing as the Browns prepare for their third preseason game against the Buccaneers on Saturday in Tampa. That game, considered as a final dress rehearsal for the regular season, should help Cleveland build chemistry before hosting Pittsburgh on Sept. 10.

"Until you start traveling down that road with one guy and you start giving him those reps the way you can do it over and over and over again, repetition is the mother of learning," he said.

"That's why this game coming up is so important. To get to where we need to be before we play Pittsburgh, there needs to be a jump in execution on offense. I get that. You all get that. I know how that works. We're going to get that fixed." 

Osweiler echoed a similar sentiment. 

"I think it's good probably for the football team to know who their quarterback is going to be for Week 1, so they can rally around him and also that quarterback can start building chemistry with that first-string offense," he said.

"I think that's extremely important but no relief. At the end of the day, I have no regrets toward anything. I have given it everything I have had from studying in April and May to OTAs and training camp and preseason games. We're very fortunate to play for a great football coach here, and I know he'll make a great decision."

Likewise, Kizer stressed trust and patience as he grows in the Browns' offense.

"I completely trust in the process they set in front of me and if Wednesday is the day, it's the day," he said, referencing Jackson's decision to name a starter. "I know that for me, it's just about getting better, whether I'm the second-string guy, third-string guy, first-string guy. It's about me taking advantage of the reps in front of me." 

Jackson, who will evaluate film from Monday's game, believes he's seen enough to make a final decision. "I've done this long enough in my career. I know what it looks like and what it feels like and what it should be. So, I feel pretty good about it," he said.

"We'll travel in that direction again if I feel like after watching the tape we need to wait a little longer, we will wait a little longer. I just feel like we are at the point where we can move forward and feel good about it."

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