5 things: Why Cody Kessler will start for the Browns on Sunday

The Browns are in the process of wrapping up their final preparations for the Cowboys.

Here are five things to know from Friday's walk-through.

— Why Kessler gets the nod

After a week of uncertainty, head coach Hue Jackson said rookie quarterback Cody Kessler will start Sunday against the Cowboys and outlined why the rookie received the nod over Josh McCown.

"I know what Josh means to our football team and you know to the guys in the locker room. But at the same time, as I am evaluating our team as we continue to move forward, there are a lot of things I want to find out and know," he said. [



"And the more I can see guys play, you know, the better decisions I can make as we move forward. So, again, it is tough because Josh has done some great work for me and for this team and for our offense. But again I keep talking about the long-term picture for myself and our organization of knowing and seeing and making sure of where we are. I think that is really important."

Kessler is set to make his sixth start, having completed 67 percent of his passes for 947 yards, four touchdowns and just one interception.

"He has some uncanny ability. You know, he has some moxie, some poise and he has demonstrated that. He has done some good things in games," Jackson said.

"But you have to do it over a number of opportunities to really know that it is truly in there. So that is why I need to keep playing him to evaluate this and to know what we see is right and for sure."

— Pryor set to play, but some key starters questionable

After a lingering hamstring injury held back Terrelle Pryor in practice this week, the wide receiver departed Cleveland's injury report and will play Sunday. That's good news for the Browns as they also welcome back Kessler and rookie receiver Corey Coleman to the lineup.

The Browns, however, have a handful of key players who are listed as questionable, including center Cameron Erving, cornerback Jamar Taylor, receiver Ricardo Louis and linebacker Tank Carder.

— 'Very important part of our future'

Speaking of Erving, Jackson said he's optimistic the second-year player will be able to go Sunday but that's "something that I will determine, too, as we continue to move forward."

Jackson also suggested the Browns could move Erving to another spot on the offensive line in the future, saying they want to make sure they use his size and athleticism to its full potential.

"Cam is a very important part of our future. He is playing center now and hopefully that is where he will stay but if that is not the right place for him," Jackson said, "Then we will make that decision too because I think it is important as we move forward that it is very important that we get some things in concrete that this is where guys play and this is how we do it. That is what I think is going to be important."

Jackson said Erving, who played left tackle at Florida State, remains the team's starting center.

"There are some things that he has done good. And there are some things he needs to improve at. But I'm not down on Cam about this season," he said.

"And you just said it, this is his first opportunity at doing this at a high level, week in and week out. And if he shows that is not him, then we will find someplace else for him to play. But right now, I think what we have asked him to do, he has done exactly what I anticipated and can he improve, yes, and I think he will."

— 'Gorgeous' to watch

Referencing the Cowboys' offensive line, Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton heaped praise on the unit, saying it'll be a challenge for Cleveland to slow down Dallas' run game.

"It is amazing, and it has been years since I have seen an offensive line like this where they are fantastic across the line. They understand, in my vernacular, of how to get a hat on a hat. They know who to block, how to block them and where that guy is going to be," Horton said Friday.

"You are looking at outstanding offensive linemen that understand how to play the game and play it very well at a high level together across the board, five men."

As a result, Horton said, rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott has emerged as one of the league's top backs.

"What is impressive about him is his contact, his ability to stay up, run through arm tackles, and then you see his athleticism when he is leaping over the defensive backs at the next level," he said.

"We have talked about this offensive line just they are gorgeous to watch just what they do in concert with one another. Our job starts up front with that offensive line."

— Parkey's 'no hitter'

Since a bumpy debut, Browns kicker Cody Parkey has been lights out, making 6-of-6 field goals and all of his extra points. Asked of his strong performance, special teams coordinator Chris Tabor offered a wide smile.

"You just came up to me in the ninth inning and just said, 'I think you have a no-hitter going,'" he said Friday, laughing.

"I have stated it each and every week, and this week is no different, and I see more of it behind the scenes – the routine, how he attacks things, how he is striking the ball – he is an awfully good football player who is still developing. I would say that his arrow is up. Is there going to be a time maybe where he misses one? That could happen," Tabor continued.

"But I know that there are going to be plenty of times that he is going to go out and hit them. I will be quite honest with you, I hope we get another opportunity where he gets to go out and hit the game-winner because I know that he will make it."​

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