Cleveland Browns: Cody Kessler should not play in 2016


The Cleveland Browns need to let Cody Kessler’s game develop before he steps on the field.

The Cleveland Browns have had a hefty rotation of quarterbacks play since 1999. While successful NFL teams have quarterbacks serve as the face of the team, the Browns seem to cycle through several each season.

Three quarterbacks have started games in each of the last three seasons, while 2001 was the only year since 1999 that a Browns quarterback, Tim Couch, started all 16 games.

There is a sense of optimism that 2016 will be the start of a new era, but the quarterback situation may end up being the same.

Robert Griffin III is the current favorite to open the season as the starter, although the position is still up for grabs, according to the coaches and front office.

Griffin seems like the right choice, especially given the low expectations for the upcoming season, but his history of injuries is a concern.

The offensive line is anchored by Joe Thomas, but the departures of both Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz will create some problems.

Cam Erving looks to be the replacement at center while Alvin Bailey is the favorite to win the job at right tackle.

Both have struggled at protecting quarterbacks, with Browns fans getting a front row seat to some of Erving’s lowlights in 2015. He said he put on weight this offseason, so it remains to be seen if he will improve upon a terrible start to his career.

This new-look offensive line will be weaker, at least on paper, than the one last season, which may prove to be trouble for Griffin or whoever lines up under center.

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The quarterback is going to be on the ground a lot this season, and if Griffin opens the season as the starter, his style of play could result in injuries.

The same goes for Josh McCown, who would presumably be next in line behind Griffin. He could not even make it through the opening game of the 2015 season, as he nearly had his head taken off on the first drive of the season against the New York Jets.

If injuries occur, Cody Kessler will be forced to get in the game, which is the only scenario in which he should step on the field in 2016.

The coaches need to allow Kessler to develop, allowing him to avoid being rushed on the field like Colt McCoy, Brandon Weeden and Johnny Manziel. Sorry for any associated flashbacks that come with that last sentence.

The Browns seem to have high hopes for Kessler, so putting him on the field with this current team would be unfair to him personally if he is expected to start in the future.

The point of signing Griffin in the first place was to have a quarterback to help the team compete while another quarterback was developed by Hue Jackson.

This does not mean Griffin cannot keep the job if he does a great job and helps turn the team around, but he is not the quarterback of the future at this point in time.

There was talk of Kessler being a reach in the third round, but Jackson and the front office believe he can help the Browns in the future, so fans will have to put faith in the decision until there is a reason to lose that faith.

Next: Browns: Top 10 rushing games (Part 1)

Keeping Kessler off the field in 2016 is one step toward making the decision a great one.