The Cleveland Browns and New York Giants were the premiere matchup of the NFL's second week of preseason action, which is sort of like Rob Schneider headlining a comedy festival. Regardless, it was another chance for Hue Jackson to attempt to figure out who's going to be under center for Week 1, with DeShone Kizer getting the majority of snaps in this Monday Night Football affair.
Here's look at how the quarterbacks performed (the ones that have a chance at winning the starting job, at least) and what else stood out as the Browns moved to 2-0 in the preseason.
At this point, Brock Osweiler is like the dog you keep telling to "shake" but instead it sits there and stares at you. He is what he is. Osweiler didn't get much playing time on Monday night, but you don't need much more tape on the former Arizona State product to draw a final conclusion.
Osweiler was once again inconsistent, inaccurate and displayed the tendency to lock on to his first progression that has plagued him throughout his NFL career. Let's run through the tape.
When it comes to accuracy, even Osweiler's completions miss their mark. Take this early throw to Corey Coleman, for example. What should've been an easy completion on a comeback route by Coleman turned into the wideout having to show off his vertical leap like he was back at the Combine.
It's a fantastic snag by Coleman at the sticks, but a catch made infinitely more difficult by Osweiler's ball placement.
Osweiler's issues with accuracy continued. Here, a bit of pressure in his face leads Osweiler to miss terribly on a seam route to David Njoku, a ball that probably should've been picked.
Then, with the Browns in the red zone during his second possession, Osweiler did what you absolutely cannot do: lock on to a receiver and turn the ball over. Though this play is designed for Osweiler to take a quick, four-step drop and hit his receiver on a slant, you cannot stare him down the moment the ball is snapped like Osweiler does here. The defensive lineman knew exactly where Osweiler wanted to go with the ball, got in front of the passing lane and batted it into the air. This type of thing is an Osweiler specialty.
Through two preseason games, Osweiler has failed to move the offense in a meaningful way. At this point, the only reason to name him your starting quarterback would be if Jackson truly felt the game was still moving too fast for Kizer (which doesn't appear to be the case), or to keep Kizer healthy, which feels silly. Osweiler simply gives you nothing.
The Browns' second round pick out of Notre Dame came in early, getting some first quarter reps against the Giants' first-string defense. Kizer's performance was mixed, so let's get the negatives out of the way first.
One of Kizer's worst tendencies is to hold on to the football for entirely too long as he attempts to navigate the pocket, and the speed of the Giants defense made him pay for it on Monday night. Below, Kizer's internal clock must've been set to 10 a.m., which is far too late when you're facing a defensive line that boasts players like Jason Pierre-Paul. You simply can't linger in the pocket for this long.
Kizer hasn't made many profoundly head-scratching decisions in his time with the Browns, but this interception (which was called back on a penalty) was rough. Kizer's target, Josh Boyce, is completely behind the Giants defender, and it's hard to understand exactly what Kizer saw here.
And finally, finishing off the "bad" category is Kizer's overthrow to Njoku, which would've been a touchdown. The Browns got a linebacker matched up with the rookie from Miami as he ran a seam route over the middle of the field, and Kizer simply put it out of reach. Woof.
Still, Kizer continues to show off traits that point to a potentially successful future as a starting quarterback in the NFL. In the play below, Kizer recognizes the Giants in Cover 2, resists throwing to Coleman, who would've gotten crushed by the cornerback or Kizer's pass simply would've picked off, and ran for a first down instead. Yes, he needs to slide and avoid having his torso separated from his legs, but simply recognizing a coverage meant to goad the QB into throwing an INT is a big deal.
Whereas being too patient in the pocket lead to a sack earlier in the game, that ability is also a virtue when Kizer can control it. Below, Kizer holds on to the ball until Rashard Higgins can finish off his route despite being pressured almost immediately, then shows off his impressive arm talent by whipping it to Higgins off his back foot, putting the ball on Higgins' outside shoulder and allowing him to make a move for a first down.
Finally, Kizer has become quite adept at selling screens, as he shows below. Kizer fakes the quick pass to his right to Duke Johnson, then waits a moment before lofting the ball back to his left to Danny Vitale, who makes a move in space for a big gain.
Other Notes and Observations
-The rebirth of Joe Schobert: Preseason football is rife with "X player is in the best shape of his life!" talk from commentators, but dropping 14 pounds has had a noticeable impact on Schobert's speed, something he showed off on Monday night. The linebacker was everywhere, from sacking Eli Manning on a stunt blitz to nearly picking off a Manning pass after dropping back in zone. Gregg Williams may have unearthed a gem.
-Joe Haden's rough game: From getting burned on a deep route by Brandon Marshall (though the pass was overthrown), to missing what would've been a tackle for a loss on Odell Beckham Jr., Haden looked an awful lot like the corner he's been the past few seasons, and that's not good.
-Matthew Dayes continues to ball: If Duke Johnson is truly going to be used more as a slot receiver than a running back, the coaching staff should feel pretty comfortable trotting out Matthew Dayes when Isaiah Crowell needs a breather. The 7th round pick is a virtual lock to make the final 53 after showing off plenty of shiftiness Monday night, both in the run game and on screens.