Cleveland Browns: Cody Kessler is QB1 – for now

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 2: Quarterback Cody Kessler
LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 2: Quarterback Cody Kessler /

Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson says Cody Kessler will start training camp as the starter. But how long can he hold onto the role?

The Cleveland Browns will open training camp on Thursday and when they do, quarterback Cody Kessler will lead the offense onto the practice squad.

Whether or not he remains in possession of the starter’s role after that remains to be seen.

Head coach Hue Jackson met with the media today and said that the plan, for now, is to see what Kessler can do in his second year with the offense, according to

"“Cody will walk out there first, and we will give him an opportunity there. Obviously, Brock (Osweiler) and DeShone (Kizer) and Kevin (Hogan), all of those guys will get reps. This is a competition. Somebody has to walk out there first. We have made a decision that it will be Cody and we will kind of go from there.”"

Kessler’s biggest edge comes from the fact that he knows Jackson’s offense the best out of the three viable candidates at the position. (Sorry, Hogan fans.) But that may not be enough as Kessler is also the same quarterback that struggled to throw the ball deep as a rookie in 2016, leading to his benching in a game against the Baltimore Ravens, and missed time last season while dealing with concussions.

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Even though he may not be ready, especially given that the Browns face each of the AFC North opponents in the first quarter of the season, DeShone Kizer may show enough during training camp and the preseason to tempt Jackson to give him the nod come opening day.

If Kizer can “make the earth move” at some point over the next six weeks, it may be enough to sway Jackson.

Then there is still the case of Brock Osweiler, holder of the most talked about $16 million guaranteed payout for the upcoming season. He has been considered the odd man out ever since arriving in a pre-draft trade from the Houston Texans, but has the most NFL experience of any quarterback currently on the roster.

The best part of the entire process is that with training camp opening and the first preseason coming up on Aug. 10, someone, somehow, will emerge as the best man for the job, according to Jackson:

"“As you start to see guys start to distance themselves, you start to move into a different direction. I can’t tell you exactly how fast it is going to happen, but I think we all know that old saying – ‘The cream kind of rises to the top.’ They will start to separate themselves as we go. As that happens, we will make that decision and make sure that guy gets enough reps to be ready to play.”"

Somebody among the group of Kessler, Osweiler and Kizer has to win the competition. Whether or not that person is the right guy remains to be seen.

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But with the way that the Browns cycle through quarterbacks during the regular season, it is likely that the player who opens up behind center on Sept. 10 may not be in possession of the starter’s role for very long.