There really hasn’t been much positive news at all coming out of Berea lately, where the Cleveland Browns have sputtered to an 0-5 start. On Sunday, in their battering at the hands of the Patriots, they suffered yet another—to be clear, a third—injury to a starting quarterback, this time, third-round rookie Cody Kessler.
When Kessler went down in the game, the Browns put in Charlie Whitehurst, whom they signed in the wake of the injury suffered by Josh McCown, who suffered a shoulder injury in the second game after he replaced Robert Griffin III, who was placed on injured reserve following the season opener.
Now, if you’re still with me, and you’re a Browns fan, there is some good news, as it appears that Kessler will be fine to play on Sunday, so they will not, in fact, have to start their fourth different quarterback in six games this season. Or, at the very least, he was described as having a shot to play.
Kessler suffered a blow to the rib and chest area and was forced to leave the game late in the first quarter. Whitehurst was also injured in the game, and the Browns released an injury settlement with him on Monday, while promoting rookie quarterback Kevin Hogan from the practice squad.
While Hogan is the only fully healthy quarterback currently on the roster, it is possible that they could have two on Sunday with Kessler starting, and three soon after, as McCown is expected to resume practicing this week for the first time since his injury.
It is unlikely that the veteran quarterback will be ready to play on Sunday as he works his way back from what was regarded as a possible long-term injury, though not likely to be a season-ending one, but there is well-founded optimism in the availability of the rookie starter.
Over the course of the past three games, in fact, Kessler has done a lot to earn the respect and trust of his teammates, though he has yet to lead the team to a victory in three starts—the third of which he saw less than a quarter of action in.
In about nine quarters of play, he has completed 54 of 81 passes, or exactly two thirds, for 529 yards, throwing two touchdowns and one interception for a quarterback rating if 87.9. He has been sacked four times behind a makeshift offensive line, and has also fumbled four times, losing one.
Head coach Hue Jackson was satisfied with his development over three weeks, saying that “he did some good things and made some good decisions with the ball”. Jackson continued, saying, “that’s the kind of way we play—very efficient, understanding where the ball goes and mixed with runs mixed with things we do”.
“The more he grows, the better he gets”, he concluded about his third starting quarterback in the first five games of his tenure as head coach with the Browns. And right now he’s just hoping he doesn’t have to start a fourth, this time a rookie claimed off waivers in the final roster cuts.