Browns Should Consider Shutting Down Cody Kessler Following Second Concussion

The Cleveland Browns’ offensive line is putrid. Utterly putrid. You may have noticed that fact on Sunday as they allowed the Pittsburgh Steelers, who entered the game with the fewest sacks in the league, to record more sacks in a single game than any other team had around the league up to that point.

With Pittsburgh’s eight sacks of two different quarterbacks on Cleveland on Sunday, the Browns have now allowed the most sacks on the season with 38. Previously, the Colts—whom Pittsburgh faces next—held that distinction, but they only allowed two sacks on Sunday.

But that didn’t stop Andrew Luck from getting concussed, which looks like it might knock him out of the Steelers game on Thanksgiving. And on that note, we get to the topic at hand, which should actually raise some concerns, because Browns rookie quarterback Cody Kessler suffered a concussion for the second time this season.

The Browns’ offensive line is simply lethal. It has caused four different quarterbacks to leave games due to injury, two of them missing extended time. Kessler has actually been knocked out of a game on three separate occasions already in eight starts.

Or to put it in starker terms, he has been unable to finish about 38% of the games he’s started. And the quarterback who started the game was not able to finish the game on five of 11 opportunities, or 45 percent of the time. On one occasion, two quarterbacks were knocked out of the same game.

But to refocus, Kessler, a third-round rookie, I want to remind, is already dealing with the second concussion of his career. His first concussion came against the Bengals in Week Seven, and he was forced to sit out the following game.

He started the next three games, with that third game being Sunday’s contest against the Steelers—and he left that game as well after being diagnosed with another concussion. Head Coach Mike Tomlin may have been right in his observation that Lawrence Timmons did not strike him in the helmet—but he did slam his head into the ground, and the effect was the same.

That he suffered a concussion is a far bigger issue than whether or not a 15-yard penalty was justified. Admittedly, they are separable issues that can be dealt with apart from one another, but the latter seems almost petty while the former is potentially tied to the long-term health of a young man.

When you suffer one concussion, you become more susceptible to suffering another in a short period of time. He has suffered two concussions now recently, and that puts him in a really vulnerable position.

It looks as though Robert Griffin III may be able to return soon. Josh McCown is in the starting lineup for now. I think that the Browns should seriously consider shutting down Kessler for the remainder of the season. He was never meant to be the starter anyway, but now we are dealing with a matter of long-term health.

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