CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The annual Orange and Brown scrimmage started off with a bang and fizzled from there.
Mario Alford returned the opening kickoff 107 yards for a touchdown providing the lone highlight of the evening as the starters on the Brown team were shut out by the backups on the White team 15-0.
If you were hoping – like head coach Hue Jackson probably was – that at least one of the quarterbacks would put on a show and separate themselves you left FirstEnergy Stadium disappointed Friday.
“There was spotty play here and there,” Jackson said. “We were mixing and matching and playing. In fairness, I thought they all tried to hold their own pretty well.”
Jackson remains non-committal about what he will do with the rotation going forward but he will take a look at it in time for Monday’s practice.
“I have to,” Jackson said. “We have a game next Thursday. “I will definitely look at it. As I said to all of you the other day, it doesn’t mean whichever road we decide to travel for next Thursday, that doesn’t mean that is the starter for the season.”
Cody Kessler completed 4 of 6 passes unofficially for 33 yards and went 3-and-out on his opening as well as final drive of the evening and accounted for zero points.
“It was really vanilla with what we were doing and stuff,” Kessler said.
Kessler remains the unofficial No. 1 QB but there’s a chance that could change as he continues to struggle establishing a rhythm offensively giving Jackson every reason to switch things up prior to the preseason opener next Thursday against the Saints.
“He is pushing all of us to get the most out of us,” Kessler said. “Obviously, you know the preseason games are going to be big. Getting a chance to play in game action will definitely be big.”
Brock Osweiler was the most productive accounting for a pair of field goal drives for the White team. He completed 10-of 156 passes for an unofficial 94 yards.
“The defense on both sides played great football tonight,” Osweiler said. “Anytime you only see 15 points up on the board combined, I think that means that the defense is playing good football.”
Osweiler, who continues to be entrenched with the second-team offense feels he’s getting a legitimate chance to win the starting job despite that. He also remained diplomatic when asked if it was time to ask for some reps with the ones.
“That is not up for me to decide,” Osweiler responded. “My job solely is to show up every single day with a great attitude, prepared to work hard and ready to be a great teammate, and whichever unit I am with, to help them try to succeed at practice. Those decisions are for other people to make.”
Rookie DeShone Kizer, who worked behind Kessler on the Brown team, was 7-of-14 for an unofficial 46 yards.
“I have played better,” Kizer said. “For me to step out there and not play at the level that I would like to play at is a little disappointing for myself, but once again, it is another learning opportunity.”
Kizer missed a golden opportunity inside the red zone when he missed a would-be touchdown throw to running back Duke Johnson high and wide over the middle on the final drive of the scrimmage.
“Duke is a heck of route runner,” Kizer said. “Obviously, he is very versatile. For him to be that wide open and for me to miss is unacceptable.”
Kevin Hogan worked behind Osweiler and he completed all 5 of his passes for 71 yards unofficially and accounted for the third field goal drive for the White team.
Myles Garrett continues to stack up strong performances. The No. 1 pick in the draft could’ve been credited with as many as 4 sacks, although Jackson gave him 2.
“I am just getting my rhythm back, starting to feel good again,” Garrett said. “It is not like I was feeling unhealthy. It was just getting back into the pace of things. Just seeing what I can do. Testing some moves out and seeing how they work, testing my opponent and seeing what I can get away with and how I can be successful.”
Kirksey’s Close Call – The Browns came out of the scrimmage with no injuries Jackson said, although early they got a scare when linebacker Christian Kirksey got tangled up and went down with an apparent left leg injury.
He eventually got up after being looked at for a few minutes and walked off with trainers.
Moments after leaving the medical tent, Kirksey could be seen jogging up and down the sideline with ease but Jackson decided not to put him back out there.
“He could have gone back in, but I shut that down real quickly,” Jackson said.
Run For Dayes – Rookie running back Matt Dayes continued his strong camp Friday evening.
Kessler turned and handed to him 3 straight times on 1 series that saw him pick up 12 yards and a first down. In addition to adding positive yardage on 2 more runs Dayes caught at least 4 passes coming out of the backfield.
“Every day in practice, he has made a play,” Jackson said of the seventh-round pick from from N.C. State. “He did it today, too. He has caught the ball well. He catches the ball a little better than I thought he would. He has improved that way. He has a legitimate opportunity here.”
Injury Report – DL Caleb Brantley (finger), DB Marcus Burley (face laceration), OL Gabe Ikard (concussion), DL Jamal Marcus (ankle), DB Ed Reynolds II (knee), WR James Wright (pulmonary contusion) and DB Howard Wilson (knee-PUP)
Up Next – Practice Saturday 2:30-4:45 p.m