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Brock Osweiler says ‘film for the past 2 years’ proves he’s a starting QB and, uh, OK Brock

Osweiler was a starter. Just not a very good one.

NFL: Cleveland Browns-OTA Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Brock Osweiler’s 2016 was so bad the Houston Texans gave up a second-round draft pick just to get out from under his contract. They were eager to jettison the young passer despite having only Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden at quarterback behind him.

Yet even with a dire history as an NFL passer, Osweiler still believes he’s in line to start for the Cleveland Browns this fall.

The Browns’ offseason salary dump acquisition told reporters he’s “absolutely” a starting-caliber quarterback Wednesday, just months after his 72.2 passer rating ranked him second-to-last among NFL QBs. When WKRK The Fan’s Daryl Ruiter pressed him on the issue, he pointed to his underwhelming resume as proof.

Ruiter: “Are you good enough to be a starting quarterback in this league?”

Osweiler: “Absolutely. Absolutely.”

Ruiter: “Why?”

Osweiler: “I think the proof is in the film for the past two years.”

While Osweiler has been a starting quarterback, he hasn’t been a particularly good one. He’s lost jobs to the injury-riddled husk of Peyton Manning and unheralded backup Tom Savage. His performance in Denver and Houston, where he was surrounded by top-notch receivers like Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, DeAndre Hopkins, and Will Fuller, was at best underwhelming. Only the presence of two of the league’s most intimidating defenses could buoy him to a 13-8 record as a starter.

His 5.8 yards per pass attempt last season was worse than players like Scott Tolzien, Bryce Petty, and Landry Jones. It ranked 30th out of 30 qualified starters by nearly half a yard. He completed only 59 percent of his passes (27th) and threw 16 interceptions while only tossing 15 touchdowns.

While he showed potential as Manning’s replacement in Denver in 2015 — and was rewarded with a $72 million contract because of it — his 2016 was proof he’s incapable of being a franchise QB. On the plus side, it did leave us with moments like this, where he somehow flung a fumble 7 yards in the air despite a clean pocket.

Former NFL wideout shared Ruiter’s skepticism.

However, he’ll have the chance to be the Browns’ opening day starter and continue a chain of quarterback misery that has haunted the franchise since its rebirth in 1999. Over the past three seasons alone, Cleveland has started Robert Griffin III, Cody Kessler, Josh McCown, Johnny Manziel, Austin Davis, Brian Hoyer, and Connor Shaw behind center. This season, Osweiler will have to beat out Kessler, Kevin Hogan, and second-round draft pick DeShone Kizer for the top spot on the depth chart.

Osweiler is technically correct. The past two years prove he’s capable of starting for a playoff football team. But his club’s success has often come in spite of him rather than because of any sort of foundation-building play at quarterback. The Browns don’t have the kind of supporting cast that can lead the league in yardage allowed like the Broncos and Texans have the past two years. Cleveland’s defense gave up more turf than all but one team last season.

Take that into account, and you could see an even worse Osweiler in 2017. That is, if he can work his way into the starting lineup this fall.