Cody Kessler has by far exceeded his expectations after being thrust into the starting lineup in Week 3. The rookie has displayed many qualities that make up a successful NFL quarterback and he continued to impress Sunday by making NFL-caliber throws.
Kessler’s most impressive throw of the day came finding Gary Barnidge over the middle for a gain of 43. On the play, Kessler is working under center with two receivers to each side. Tight end Gary Barnidge has a clean release off the line of scrimmage and runs a seam route down the middle of the field. Kessler does a great job of looking of the safeties before coming back to Barnidge, his primary read.
The Titans defense is playing zone coverage and Hue Jackson has an excellent play call to exploit the zone coverage. Kessler hits Barnidge in the soft spot of zone behind the linebackers and in front of the safeties. The throw by Kessler is impressive, with the touch and anticipation to get it past the linebackers into a small zone to his big tight end.
Another play where Kessler displayed his touch and accuracy was when he found fellow rookie Ricardo Louis for 42 yards before halftime. On the play the pocket breaks down, and Kessler escapes the pocket to his right. Kessler does a great job of sensing the pressure and getting outside the pocket. Once outside of the pocket, Kessler keeps his eyes downfield and does not give up on the play.
As the play breaks down, Louis gets open behind the Titans defense and Kessler throws a perfectly placed touch pass on the run. This play shows how valuable Kessler’s accuracy is, as he makes a challenging throw on the run look easy for a huge gain.
The importance of accuracy is overlooked with so many playmaking receivers and acrobatic catches into today’s NFL. However, Kessler has shown how accuracy and throwing on time can spring big plays and allow the offense to be successful even when led by a rookie.