Cleveland Browns wide receiver Corey Coleman returns to the lineup today, giving fans the first opportunity to see him work with quarterback Cody Kessler.
Cleveland Browns rookies Cody Kessler and Corey Coleman return from injury today and will be in the lineup together for the first time in the regular season.
Kessler is coming off of a concussion sustained against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 7, while Coleman broke his hand during practice in September and has been sidelined since Week 3 .
Head coach Hue Jackson asked Browns fans back in April to “trust him” when the team selected Kessler in the third round of the draft. The former USC Trojan has been surprisingly productive despite playing in a new regime with a young team, and without the benefit of Coleman, the Browns first-round pick.
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In the two games that he has been on the field, Coleman flashed his abilities, totaling seven receptions for 173 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown threw to Coleman in those games, but Kessler has been the team’s most-impressive quarterback this season.
Under Kessler’s lead, the Browns average 384 yards of offense in games that he starts and finishes. The rookie has proven he’s tough, and with Coleman as his disposal for the second half of the season it will be easier to determine Kessler’s future role with the team. Is he a backup or a legitimate starting quarterback? Today will start to tell the tale.
Helping Kessler’s cause is the fact that the Browns running game has been productive, even with a halfway-decent offensive line.
Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson have displayed their versatile and instinctive rushing, supplying the Browns with a consistent effort on offense. The team currently ranks No. 12 in rushing, with Crowell averaging 4.9 yards per carry and Johnson at 5.0.
Aside from Terrelle Pryor, who has 41 receptions for 532 yards and three touchdowns, the receiving core is lackluster, with Andrew Hawkins the only veteran to help the young rookies. Opposing defenses have smothered tight end Gary Barnidge throughout the season as well.
Adding Coleman to this offense presents one more electric playmaker who can open up the field for Pyror and Barnidge. Kessler has exceeded expectations so far in 2016, and now with a full arsenal on offense the Browns can truly determine his status moving forward. The team obviously has a wide area of needs to address, and if they don’t need to draft a quarterback in the first round a player like Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett could make in impact on the defense.
Although it’s all too early to tell which quarterbacks are potential franchise players, the Browns will be evaluating Kessler as to what his role in the future will entail. With another weapon to throw to, Kessler has a chance to prove his doubters wrong and flip the script for the Browns the rest of the season.