Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Krunch Time With Katelin: Why The Trust In Hue Jackson Doesn't Ride On Cody Kessler

Why The Trust In Hue Jackson Doesn't Ride On Cody Kessler's Success This Season
By Katelin Marshall, @KatelinKnowsCLE

September 25, 2016 will mark the 26th different starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns since their return in 1999...yes 26th. The 26th quarterback is someone by the name of Cody Kessler.
Kessler, a rookie out of the University of Southern California where he was a three year starter, was taken in the third round (93rd overall) in the 2016 NFL Draft. Now there were some questions about drafting Kessler that high considering he was projected as a 5th-7th round pick and he was the 6th quarterback taken (before guys like Connor Cook, Dak Prescott, and Cardale Jones). Head Coach Hue Jackson said "You have to trust me on this one." Referring to taking Kessler that high. But we shouldn't lose faith in Jackson if Kessler doesn't work out this year.

Now we shouldn't expect much from Kessler and the 2016 Cleveland Browns even though the season is still in its infancy. This team is going to be on its third quarterback in as many weeks so we shouldn't judge Hue Jackson and company based on how well a rookie quarterback, who was drafted in the third round, plays. Yes, the Browns could have drafted Carson Wentz at number two overall instead of Cody, but we have to remember a few things before we watch Kessler on Sunday vs Miami and the rest of the season.

First off, this season was going to be a redshirt season of some sort. While watching him during the preseason Kessler looked lost at times and looked like an overwhelmed rookie. Now there is going to be some growing pains with him but fans need to remain calm and let Cody Kessler make his mistakes so he can grow from them. I don't think anyone could have predicted Kessler starting in week three because of injuries to Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown. So while watching the Browns going forward we need to remind ourselves that some of the development in other areas of the offense may take a hit because of Kessler starting.

Second, Kessler was drafted to become the next Josh McCown or Colt McCoy and that is ok. Backup quarterbacks are extremely valuable and as Browns fans we know this as a fact. Its fine for a team like the Browns who are building from the ground up to draft their backup for the future. Now the key word is future. If the Browns stay on the path they are going its extremely likely they will have the first overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft. The plan on paper is for Hue Jackson and company to take their franchise quarterback next year with that first overall pick, so why draft Kessler? Well its smart for a couple reasons. If the new quarterback isn't ready for week one in 2017 why not play the guy you drafted the year before until your franchise guy is ready. Another reason is having an insurance policy. If the franchise guy doesn't work out there is a chance Cody Kessler becomes the guy, just like what happened to the Redskins in 2012 with RGIII and Kirk Cousins.

The last reason not to lose trust in Hue Jackson is that Kessler isn't their guy no matter what Hue Jackson says. Yes lying isn't good for the trust level but its part of the business. I going to guess no one in Berea is going to go all in on Kessler instead of the potential number one overall pick. And like I just stated before Kessler is their backup for the future. The Browns are using this year as a tryout of some sort for 2017 and beyond so if Kessler plays well...great!
But if he doesn't, Hue Jackson can mark it up as a rookie learning the NFL and a guy who is groomed to be a backup. And again the plan is to get their guy next year in the first round or free agency and go from there. Yes, Kessler is an important piece for the future but a very small piece. Reminder Hue Jackson said to trust him on Kessler, but he really didn't explain what the Kessler plan was. So if Kessler becomes what we all think he is, a backup quarterback, then Hue Jackson didn't lie about anything. And lets not forget Kessler is third round pick, its not like the Browns traded up to get him...So don't be dumb and compare him to Carson Wentz.

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