Quarterback Cody Kessler has been a pleasant surprise at the position all year despite so many other disappointments. While other parts of the team have underperformed, Kessler has played like a veteran, showing poise, toughness and the ability to protect the football.
In Kessler’s six starts he has thrown for 1,150 yards, five touchdowns and only one interception.
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The key for Kessler’s rookie success has been his ability to protect the ball and not force passes into tight spots. Kessler has played mistake-free football and is completing 67.5 percent of his passes and has given his playmakers the chance to make plays in space with the ball.
Kessler was praised for these traits pre-draft coming out of Southern Cal and has showcased them to the best of his ability. In a season where he was not expected to play let alone be starting games early in the season, Kessler has done a superb job of taking over as the staring quarterback and quickly becoming a leader on the offense.
Now with some starts under his belt, Jackson wants to see his young quarterback be more aggressive and take some chances tonight in Baltimore.
“That is the way we in this offense to score more points,” Jackson said. “Cody has done a good job of distributing the ball and he has done a good job of putting the ball in the right places for the most part, but he knows now that in the National Football League you have to sometimes take a few more chances to score points because the defenses are too good.”
While Jackson wants to stretch the field more, Kessler does not sound quite as confident about that plan.
“I did that a couple times last game and then threw some balls up to give (WR) Corey (Coleman) and (WR) Terrelle (Pryor Sr.) when you have athletes like that, you have to give them a chance,” he said this week. “At the end of the day, you want to be smart with it. If they are double covered and it is not there and they did not win, check it down and get the ball out and get to the next play and don’t put your team in bad situations.”
Expect Kessler and the Browns offensive weapons to come out energized for their primetime game and look to hit an early home run. Kessler has proven in his six game starting that he can make smart decisions with the ball, and now is the time to give him more freedom to take some chances downfield with solid playmakers in Corey Coleman, Terrelle Pryor and Gary Barnidge.