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Hue Jackson on his starting QB: “They have to take it from [Cody Kessler]”

clevelandbrowns.com

The most consistent component of the post-1999 Cleveland Browns has been an inconsistency at quarterback; including competitions for the starting spot most every offseason. Head coach Hue Jackson differentiated himself from previous regimes when he made a proclamation about the starting quarterback rather than giving platitudes about the openness of the job. At the Browns official rookie mini-camp, head coach Hue Jackson said that the second-year quarterback, Cody Kessler, will be given the keys to the offense this fall. The other three quarterbacks on the roster (DeShone Kizer, Brock Osweiler, Kevin Hogan) have to knock him off that starting hill for Kessler not to be the starting quarterback Week 1.

Here’s what he had to say about Kessler, per clevelandbrowns.com’s Patrick Maks:

“Cody has done a great job. That’s really why I brought his name up first. He has really improved. He has worked his tail off. He deserves the right and the opportunity to walk into this building and walk out there first. They have to take it from him.”

Unlike both Brock Osweiler and rookie DeShone Kizer, Kessler lacks the prototypical size and arm strength of a starting quarterback. When the Browns acquired Osweiler in a package that routed a Texans second-round pick to the Browns, many expected him to be either released or traded immediately. Whether it was due to not being able to find a trade partner or not wanting to let him go, the tall quarterback is now involved in the competition as well. With the most starting experience of any of the four quarterbacks on the roster, Osweiler has had plenty of time to prove that he can be one of the 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL. But, he hasn’t despite being the only quarterback on the roster who has won a game.

Kessler may not have elite arm strength, but he proved during his rookie season that he can be a sufficient quarterback that the team can count on. Him not throwing the deep ball that much wasn’t always his fault. There was blame in it for his wide receivers too. The Browns were a wretched 1-15 and 0-8 in Kessler starts. But, Kessler had one of the best per game rookie years a quarterback has had over the past few seasons. So good that some of his stats were the best any rookie has had since 2006.

Jackson may love Kizer’s size and arm strength, but as a rookie, he needs plenty of time to both develop and to learn the NFL game and playbook. If possible, the head coach should allow his rookie to not play any significant time in 2017 and instead learn on the sidelines, both from his teammates and on the headset.

With a revamped offensive line, Kessler has a good chance to improve on his rookie season, one that he totaled 100-plus ratings in three games and finished with a 92.3 quarterback rating. He also completed 65.6 percent of his passes for 1,380 yards, six touchdowns and only two interceptions. While he didn’t take many chances downfield, he has worked on his arm strength this offseason and should be more comfortable with the offense, which could add another weapon to his arsenal.

Kessler may have the keys to the offense now, but Jackson added some fuel to fire competition from those climbing that hill. He wants the other quarterbacks to take their best shot at ripping the job away from the second-year quarterback.

“They better take it from him because I know him – he’s not going to give it up. It will be fun. That is what competition is all about. Until someone takes something from someone and shows that they can do it at a high level play in and play out, then we have to keep going in the direction where we’re traveling.”​

Kessler may or may not be the franchise quarterback of the future, but he seems to be the answer in 2017. With the Browns improvements around him along with his own improvements following his rookie campaign, he could have another impressive season and prove to Jackson and company that he can be counted on going forward.

  • Chris
  • RGB

    I predict Kessler will be excruciatingly efficient, and will completely infuriate the big-arm Kizer crowd.
    #TeamSnark <3 Kessler

  • tigersbrowns2

    Brock , DeShone & Kevin … this is a clipboard. get to know everything about this modern marvel & how it works … this guy will be your new friend & help you get through the times you wish you could be on the field playing. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/75f5d661db806b21ceb9c5b372d1ad09bf37cdb7641a091e51039904d329d2fb.jpg

  • tigersbrowns2
  • tigersbrowns2

    i like what the Browns did with the O-line … this should help Cody a bit. we lost Pryor & replaced him Kenny Britt. i think we need a little more help at WR … Victor Cruz is available & i’m pretty sure he could help. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/991bc8b6af37192489c86f1ab316a4d94f23d8ed69b9662f564166beea365e2c.jpg

  • Chris

    Actual footage of Brock last year…
    https://media4.giphy.com/media/3GtlOV0bZv4oE/giphy.gif

  • tsm

    Cody = Sipe 2.0?

  • Pat Leonard

    Brees 2.0. I’m just kidding!! (kind of)

  • Pat Leonard

    I think that would help the team win this year, but I don’t see our front office bringing in another starter at WR. I think most Browns fans (and I know this isn’t you TB) are already done with our second-year wide receivers and are ready to move on, but I guarantee the Browns’ coaches and front office are not. They’re going to want Coleman, Higgins, Louis, Payton, and even Hall to get plenty of snaps to evaluate them this year.

  • tsm

    Brees has a strong arm, Sipe a noodle arm.

  • Pat Leonard

    True, but Brees had a noodle arm when he entered the NFL. He worked out, focused on core strength exercises, and eventually beefed up his arm strength.

  • BenRM

    It’s not that I (being a big-arm club guy) dislike the efficiency and accuracy. I just also like it when my team’s scoring drives are less than 13 plays and rely upon defensive penalties to fortunately extend an otherwise exhausted drive.

    Anecdotally, I have never heard a Chiefs fan speak really highly of Alex Smith.

    That said, I want Kessler to start. I hope he does really well. I hope he is able to stretch the field better than he did last year. But if he’s Captain Checkdown , then I’m glad Kizer is on the roster.

  • mgbode

    7.1 YPA is not a captain checkdown type of QB. He did hold onto he ball too long, he did miss or not throw some longer patterns downfield. But, his accuracy and good ability in mid-range throws left him with some nice overall stats.

    He needs that last sector of the field to be a true starting option (other than early 2017), but I’d say the odds of him getting there are at least as good as Kizer adding accuracy to his short and intermediate throws. Both have work to do, Kessler has a head start.

  • mgbode

    My filter says that is NSFW

  • mgbode

    He also tore his shoulder up and the tightening of the tendons was said to help too. Yes, his core exercises and his better overall mechanics from the rehab all played a part.

    why more QBs should do pre-hab stuff like MLB pitchers do

  • Pat Leonard

    I was trying to remember where I saw it, but a Google search led to zip. I have this specific memory in my head of a former teammate talking about Brees and saying that Brees attributed the biggest reason to his improved arm strength to the core exercises that he started doing the previous season. He was speaking anecdotally though and may not have known himself what the biggest reason really was.

  • Saggy

    It wouldn’t hurt to have an NFL-caliber WR on the field, too.

    I feel the Browns are limiting the chances for a guy like Kessler to succeed because it gives them an easier reason to move on when he fails. By not drafting (or keeping) WRs, they limit the talent by limiting the amount of guys who are actually good at that profession.

    I can’t completely blame Kessler for holding on to the ball last season. Anyone who saw an all-22 replay can attest to the basic inability of anyone to get open. TP was just more athletically gifted than anyone else so Kessler was able to find him by sheer luck sometimes.

    #TeamConspiracy

  • RGB

    Ray would played with zero WRs if he could have.

  • mgbode

    Brees has brought it up himself and credited the core exercises. Other places have noted the culmination of everything.

  • mgbode

    Njoku at WR!!! (please)

  • Pat Leonard

    You may or may not get your wish, but I think DeValve is mostly going to be split out as a WR if that gives you any comfort.

  • mgbode

    DeValve has talked about bulking up more and putting a much bigger emphasis on blocking for this upcoming season fwiw

  • Pat Leonard

    Oh really? I heard someone (I thought it was Hue) talked about Njoku playing the Y and DeValve playing the U. I have no idea what position the U is, but I think the Y is typically the inline TE.

  • Pat Leonard

    *Ray would play zero WRs over 5’9″ if he could have.

    This one also works.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi PAT … i like Coleman & think he’ll have a real nice year … it’s the other 3 i’m concerned about .

  • Pat Leonard

    I am concerned too. If I had it my way, I’d go grab a vet, but just going off of what I think I know about the HBT, it doesn’t seem like they would do that.

  • tigersbrowns2
  • tigersbrowns2
  • Chris
  • tsm

    If they work for him, we will keep him and he will become one of our………………..core players.

  • tsm

    RGB – I see what you did there.

  • mgbode

    Who???

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi TSM … good catch … this is actually a real equation.

  • Chris
  • Chris

    Not many MLB pitchers get crushed by 315-lb defensive tackles though.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi MG … Cruz , Boldin & Vincent Jackson , for starters …

  • mgbode

    If we could get the versions of them from 4 years ago, then sure.

  • mgbode

    isn’t that more reason to do pre-hab work? (basically doing more to strengthen the stabilizer muscles around your joints)

  • jpftribe

    I’m pretty sure Bowe is still available.

  • Pat Leonard

    Isaac Bruce.

  • mgbode

    Terrell Owens would like one more chance to prove to HOF voters he belongs

  • mgbode

    as is Vince Mayle (I think)