The Cleveland Browns have had their share of frustrations this season, often related to injury. Of course, this is pretty much the way that I have begun just about every article that I have written about the Browns since the season has started—but I can only write about what I’m given, and Cleveland has doled out a whole lot of misery.
On the injury front, the quarterback position has been hit especially hard, given that they are down to their third-string quarterback, who has already dealt with multiple injuries, and they have had to use four quarterbacks in total, all of whom have gotten injured at some point.
Things do seem to be turning around, however, as Robert Griffin III is not believed to need surgery, and perhaps he may be able to return later in the season. The man who replaced him, Josh McCown, was able to return to practice this week on a limited basis, which is on the optimistic end of the predicted schedule for his return.
But for now, it is third-round rookie Cody Kessler who is their quarterback, and his teammates and coaches are actually believing in him, even if he has not won a game. But he has shown poise and leadership that those who are around him have come to appreciate.
According to his head coach, the rookie quarterback is “growing week to week. One week, he is staying in the pocket to make plays. [On Sunday], he was making plays outside the pocket. He made some huge plays outside the pocket”, Hue Jackson said during his press conference.
“He continues to impress with his courage”, he said about his resilience to come back after dealing with injuries in back-to-back weeks. “He stands in there. He gets walloped a few times. He gets back up. He stands up and on he goes”.
In spite of the fact that he was dropped six times for sacks on Sunday, and was rushed 11 times in total by the Titans defense, Kessler still managed to throw for 336 yards and two touchdowns in the midst of taking some big hits.
“That’s pro football”, Jackson said about his quarterback. “Nobody likes their quarterback getting hit that much. I know I don’t. It is something we have to get better at still, but to watch our quarterback play under duress and still make plays, that is part of playing in the National Football League”.
And it should be pointed out that Kessler hasn’t been dealt the greatest hand. He already lost one of his starting receivers, and the other one seems likely not to play. The offensive line has been a patchwork effort; when one player comes back, another goes down.
In spite of the fact that he is the most-pressured quarterback in the league—on 48.1 percent of dropbacks, according to Pro Football Focus—the same source also has him as having the second-best completion percentage, and adjusted completion percentage, under pressure this year. That’s poise.