After missing last week’s game while going through the league’s concussion protocol, Cleveland will be going back to rookie quarterback Cody Kessler as starter this week against the Cowboys, despite Josh McCown returning to action last week. This move is contradictory to the plan the team had earlier in the year or sitting Kessler for a season to help him learn the system, but Kessler is excited to be back on the field.
“I look at it as another opportunity. It’s exciting,” Kessler said. “That’s all you can really ask for, as a player, is opportunities. My process and preparation all week has been the same as previous weeks. It’ll be exciting, obviously, after being out for a week, to get out there and make some plays and get things going.” (via ESPN.com)
With being forced into action due to injury, Kessler has already developed chemistry and a rapport with this offense, especially with Terrelle Pryor. While McCown provides more a veteran presence behind center, Kessler has spent the most continuous time with this offense of any quarterback on the roster, and that kind of chemistry shouldn’t be messed with.
In the five games that Kessler has started, he has thrown for 947 yards, four touchdowns, and perhaps the most impressive stat, only one interception. He has been sacked numerous times behind a patchwork offensive line, but that’s to be expected honestly.
Where this chemistry comes into play is with, as mentioned before, the team’s number one receiver, Pryor. Three of his four touchdowns have gone to Pryor, and with Corey Coleman coming back, Kessler will now have a weapon that hasn’t yet had a chance to work with.
From all accounts, McCown has done a fine job coaching up Kessler from the sideline, and that is where the journeyman will be best served going forward. Hue Jackson was very high on Kessler coming out of USC, hence the reason for drafting him, and used his buzzword of the season multiple times when talking about him: “trust,” and reiterated that when talking about giving the rookie the starting job again.
“I keep talking about the long-term picture for myself and our organization of knowing and seeing and making sure of where we are. That is really important,” Jackson said.
“[Kessler] has some moxie, some poise and he has demonstrated that. He has done some good things in games, but you have to do it over a number of opportunities to really know that it is truly in there. That is why I need to keep playing him to evaluate this and to know what we see is right and for sure. I will not get to know these things if I do not play him. It is best to let us find out.” (via ESPN.com)
It is still incredibly early to say Kessler is poised to be this team’s future, but that is a question that will likely be answered quicker than any fan or member of the organization anticipated with the amount of action he’s already seen.