Cleveland Browns: 5 keys vs. the Miami Dolphins
Due to the injury of Josh McCown, rookie Cody Kessler will be making his first career start on Sunday in Miami. As the 26th quarterback to start a game for the Browns since 1999, Kessler will have the spotlight directly on him throughout the game.
Due to this pressure, Kessler and the coaching staff must work together effectively to ensure that they are on the same page. For Hue Jackson and the offensive coaching staff, they must find ways early on in the game to incorporate a heavy dose of power running mixed with short, simple passing routes.
Related: Cody Kessler and rookie quarterback debuts
The goal for Kessler, at least on the opening two drives, should be to make only one read before finding his receiver. Simple routes are the best routes early on, even if Cleveland’s strength on offense is the downfield passing game. Kessler cannot be dropping back more than five steps early in the game, as sacks and turnovers could easily result from a deep drop.
The best plan early in the game is to mix Isaiah Crowell on power runs with play action five-yard passes to move the chains. These short passing plays should come off of three-step drops from Kessler, and the ball should be out of his hands in less than three seconds.
Not only does this open up deeper passing opportunities later in the game, it also gives Kessler some easy completions early on his first start to give him confidence. It will also assist an extremely inconsistent Cleveland offense in sustaining drives.