Cody Kessler selected to start vs. Cowboys

ByPat McManamon ESPN logo
Friday, November 4, 2016

BEREA, Ohio -- Rookie Cody Kessler will start at quarterback for the Cleveland Brownson Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.

Kessler missed the team's last game against the New York Jets because of a concussion. Josh McCown started but will return to the backup role.

"I look at it as another opportunity. It's exciting," Kessler said. "That's all you can really ask for, as a player, is opportunities. My process and preparation all week has been the same as previous weeks. It'll be exciting, obviously, after being out for a week, to get out there and make some plays and get things going."

Coach Hue Jackson said the hope is that Kessler keeps the job for the rest of the season. Jackson said he is making the move to help evaluate Kessler whether he can be the team's long-term starter.

"I keep talking about the long-term picture for myself and our organization of knowing and seeing and making sure of where we are. That is really important," Jackson said.

"[Kessler] has some moxie, some poise and he has demonstrated that. He has done some good things in games, but you have to do it over a number of opportunities to really know that it is truly in there. That is why I need to keep playing him to evaluate this and to know what we see is right and for sure. I will not get to know these things if I do not play him. It is best to let us find out."

Kessler will be making his sixth start of the season. The 23-year-old has completed 66.9 percent of his passes for 947 yards with four touchdowns and one interception.

Jackson said he reserved the right to use McCown if things are not going well, but he emphasized the need to see more of Kessler to make future judgments on what to do with the position.

"That's why he's playing," Jackson said. "Because I need to know."

Jackson said the Browns still may draft a quarterback high even if Kessler plays well because he believes in bringing them in until he finds one.

For now, Kessler has the chance to show he deserves the job.

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