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Pep Hamilton on Browns QB competition: 'It all takes care of itself'

Pep Hamilton on Wednesday reiterated the Browns aren't ready to name a starter at quarterback.

After all, it's the second week of OTAs and Cleveland's roster is still taking shape under first-year coach Hue Jackson and a new-look offense.

But Hamilton likes what he's seen so far out of Cleveland's signal-callers

"All the guys are working hard. We put a lot on their plates with regard to not only digesting our offense, but we ask our quarterbacks to make sure we don't waste plays," said Hamilton, the first-year associate head coach tasked with helping mold the Browns quarterbacks. "We're an advantage-based offense. We like to make sure we're in the ideal play against certain defensive looks. Our guys need to be on top of it.

"They have to have a comprehensive understanding of not only what it is we are trying to do, but the opponent, as well. It's been a good camp up until this point, the OTAs have been very productive, and all the guys are working hard."

Cleveland currently finds itself in Week Two of OTAs and a quarterback competition that's expected to last through training camp as the coaching staff evaluates who might be best fit to lead the Browns on the field next season.

Among those candidates are Robert Griffin III, Josh McCown, Austin Davis, Connor Shaw and rookie Cody Kessler.

Griffin — the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year who signed with the team in March as a free agent — has taken a plurality of snaps with the first-team offense in OTAs thus far, but the Browns have made it clear that starting jobs won't be handed out — quarterback included.

Peppered with questions earlier this month about why he hadn't yet named Griffin the starter, Jackson said, "he hasn't played a game for me yet."

"We're going to give all our quarterbacks an opportunity. The bottom line is somebody is going to win this job. We all know that and understand it, but it's way too early to talk about one guy. I know everybody wants us to anoint a guy. That's not going to happen right this second," he said.

"I don't think I've had enough time and they haven't had enough time in this system that we run to feel very comfortable yet. Let's go through OTAs. Let's get into training camp and let's see where we are when the real bullets start flying, when guys are going after you trying to take you down. That's when we'll have a better idea about our football team in general."

Hamilton said as much Wednesday.

"(Robert is) here to compete with the other guys for an opportunity to lead this football team," he said, "and be the starting quarterback for this franchise."

He added: "Robert's done a great job of doing the things we have asked him to do. Ideally, we would like all of our quarterbacks to throw perfect passes on any given pass play, but he's been effective. He's been accurate and consistent in his ability to manage our offense. We're good with where he is at right now."

The Browns took to the field as a part of the team's Organized Team Activities.

Hamilton has also been impressed by the veteran McCown, who started eight games last season, passing for 2,109 yards and 12 touchdowns compared to four interceptions.

"He has field credibility, not only just in the quarterback room, but throughout our locker room. It has always been beneficial, just in my experience, to have veteran guys around," he said.

"They have been a tremendous resource and he has been a tremendous resource, not only for our quarterbacks but for our entire team. He is competing with all our other quarterbacks to earn the right to be the starting quarterback."

Likewise, Kessler — the former USC quarterback whom the Browns drafted in the third round last month — is very much in that competition.

"He's a sharp guy, and he's right where we thought he would be at this point," Hamilton said, adding Kessler's college experience in a pro-style offense has helped. "Only time will tell, the game's going to be faster for him at this level than it was at the college level, but from a mental standpoint, he is ahead of the curve."

Hamilton shrugged off the notion that a quarterback competition could be a distraction for the team over the summer. A decision, he said, will come "in time."

"It all takes care of itself," Hamilton said.

"Once we continue through the offseason program and get into training camp and whenever our head coach decides who 'the guy' is, everybody will rally around that guy. At the end of the day, we all want to win games."

And the quarterback who best gives the Browns the chance to do that will play.

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