As it turns out, this whole time, the Cleveland Browns don’t really know what they are doing.
At least, that is, when it comes to the quarterback position. After falling to the Ravens to start the season 0-10—which is the worst start in franchise history, I might add—the Browns announced that they will be starting the quarterback that they benched during the loss in the following game.
Following a multitude of injuries over the course of the season, the Browns have been primarily using rookie third-round quarterback Cody Kessler under center. Last night’s game, in fact, was his seventh start of the season. But it was also his third start that he did not finish, though the first he did not finish due to a benching.
This time he was benched in favor of Josh McCown, who was the Browns’ primary starting quarterback in 2015, and was their top backup at the start of the 2016 season. He started the second game of the season after Robert Griffin III was injured in the opener, though he, too, was injured.
Kessler has started since then, except for their game two weeks ago, during which he was in the concussion protocol. McCown just so happened to have returned to practice by then and started that game, but the Browns still went back to Kessler after he cleared the protocol.
Last night, Kessler completed 11 of 18 passes for just 91 yards, averaging 5.1 yards per pass attempt, but he did have one touchdown. When McCown replaced him, he promptly threw an interception. For the game, he completed just six of 13 passes for 59 yards and two interceptions.
So it would seem to be a pretty reasonable decision to go back to Kessler, given how poorly McCown played when he came into the game in the second half. But what that really tells us—and not that it isn’t anything that we were unaware of—is that the Browns really don’t have a starting quarterback.
Even if Griffin is able to return at some point this season, which remains up in the air—he did reportedly throw 20 passes prior to yesterday’s game during warmups, but remains on injured reserve—he would probably not even be in the sort of condition to lead the Browns to their first victory of the season.
As bad as the Browns have often been since they returned to the NFL, they have never been this bad in the franchise’s history, including the ‘old Browns’, which spans 66 seasons. Their 0-10 mark, I mentioned earlier, is the worst that Cleveland has ever begun a season. Let that sink in.
There has to be growing questions about the job security of many people within that organization, including the head coach, in spite of how new everything is there. After all, that has been the precedent. I’m not saying it’s a good idea, but it seems like a fairly likely one given what we have seen in the recent past.