CLEVELAND, OH – Real quick. When was the last time you heard the phrase, “if the Cleveland Browns can solidify the starting quarterback”. One time too many since 1999.
Perhaps they may have taken a step towards establishing some form of continuity with head coach Hue Jackson naming second-year signal-caller Cody Kessler his starter going into team OTA’s.
Per a report from Cleveland.com’s long-time Browns beat writer, Mary Kay Cabot, Jackson announced that the former USC standout would go into organized team activities as his starter and that fellow quarterbacks in Brock Osweiler, Kevin Hogan and rookie DeShone Kizer would have to “take it from him (Kessler)” is a sign of this front office and coaching staff trying to form some much-needed continuity at the quarterback position.
By now, we all have seen the infamous Browns jersey with all the names of former quarterbacks, and if you’re a long-suffering Browns fan such as this writer can attest, seeing a parade of fill-ins and flops such as Jeff Garcia, Kelly Holcomb, Brady Quinn, Jake Delhomme, Charlie Frye, Brian Hoyer and most recently Robert Griffin III, Charlie Whitehurst and Josh McCown, and you can see why I feel wisely investing in Kessler behind a upgraded o-line and new weapons in the form of Kenny Britt and rookie tight end David Njoku.
When he wasn’t laid horizontal by opposing defenses, Kessler looked more than capable of being the Browns guy in 2016. To just go with a marginal player such as Osweiler or an unproven raw talent such as Kizer, would have made no sense.
In his eight games under center, Kessler completed 65.6 percent of his passes for 1,380 yards and six touchdowns and two interceptions. Per Pro Football Focus, Kessler had the highest adjusted completion percentage under pressure for rookies (80.6), fifth-best adjusted completion percentage (78.2) and a respectable passer rating of 92.3
If the reports from Browns off-season are true and that Kessler has indeed bulked up in improving his arm strength, and has adopted the mentality of a starter, then perhaps the idea of Jackson endorsing Kessler isn’t as crazy as it seems, and that Kessler’s off-the-field progress, may have convinced the Browns to pass on a QB early in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Cleveland. Continuity. Two words that I thought I’d never type in a column at INSCMagazine.
Then again, it is Cleveland, and nothing is as it ever seems.