Kessler not NFL ready

Ty Sugick

Only two games into the season and the Cleveland Browns have managed to go through two quarterbacks.

Both quarterbacks were beaten up, constantly finding themselves on the ground. With starter Robert Griffin III and the trusted veteran backup Josh McCown down with shoulder injuries, it is time for the rookie quarterback out of the University of Southern California, Cody Kessler, to get his first start of his NFL career.

The Browns shocked fans by reaching to take Kessler in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft, when he wasn’t projected to be taken until the fifth or sixth round. After slight backlash from fans, head coach Hue Jackson quickly came to the defense of Kessler, urging fans to trust him.

Cleveland fans may have some faith in Jackson after Sunday’s game against Miami. Kessler didn’t exactly wow anyone during his preseason as he struggled during training camp, although his preseason numbers were not bad, completing 19 of 28 pass attempts for 92 yards and a touchdown.

Kessler has an average frame for a pro-quarterback and comes from a solid offensive system at USC. He has the tools to be a success in the league down the road possibly, but his lack of strength in any category as a quarterback, paired with weak pass protection, will leave Kessler fighting for his life in the pocket.

Jackson will need to pull plenty of tricks out of his playbook to help aid Kessler’s lack of ability, and even that may not be enough.

This is a particularly difficult spot for Kessler, as he probably wasn’t expecting to get the nod this early in the year. A frantic start such as this one for a young quarterback can be one that is very difficult to bounce back from.

Confidence is vital to a quarterback’s success, along with trust. No one can trust the Cleveland offensive line to protect him at this point, as a quarterback injured a week doesn’t sound too promising. Kessler must also trust his own abilities and arm to make the necessary decisions and throws to put the Browns in good position.

Kessler just hasn’t had to time yet to catch up with the NFL learning curve and it will show in his play. Browns fans have to continue to be patient with Kessler; try not to push him on a boat to the burning river at the first sign of trouble.

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Ty Sugick is a columnist, contact him at [email protected]