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Cody Kessler, next man up in Browns QB room, leaning on veteran counterparts

Cody Kessler knows he's the next man up in the Browns quarterbacks room.

After it was announced Robert Griffin III will miss extended time with a significant shoulder injury, the rookie from USC now finds himself as Cleveland's backup quarterback, a role neither he nor the team takes lightly.

But Kessler's approach hasn't changed.

"You have to keep preparing as a starter. You can never predict what is going to happen or what is going to happen in different games or different situations," he said Monday.


"I've always told myself whenever that time does come, whether it is this year, early, late, next year, whenever it may be, I just want to be prepared and be ready. If it is happening a lot faster than I thought or what was expected, then I want to continue to prepare."

With veteran quarterback Josh McCown preparing to start in Sunday's home opener against the Ravens, Kessler said he's trying to learn from the 37-year-old and prepare in case his name is called this weekend, next weekend or some time down the road.

"I really respect this game and respect the quarterback position. It is something that I really want to focus on is mastering the position, being able to go out and play flawless," he said.

"Not that there is not going to be mistakes and things are not going to go right every play but as long as you can eliminate those bad plays and have more productive ones, there are a lot of guys that do that in the NFL and they are in a successful position. That's something I respect and I want to be."

For Kessler, he has to look no further than McCown, who enters his 14th season in the league and second in Cleveland, starting eight games in 2015.   

The Browns play the Eagles in the second half of the 2016 season opener.

"He's helped out a ton. He really has. Just for me, just studying him at practice, whether it is even just walking into the huddle, not even how he is doing the play, just walking into the huddle talking in the huddle, talking to guys around after the play whatever it may be, and then obviously getting reps, but he has been great," Kessler said of McCown, who passed for 2,109 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2015.

"He's been in the league now for 14 years. It is his 14th year playing football and he still takes the time to help me out and really stop in between things. Just last week he called me out. We were doing scout team and he called me out there and he said, 'Hey, watch how I do this.' I watched him, and he's like, 'All right now go in there,' and I ran in there and did it and then he was just kind of rooting me on and helping me out.

"It's really cool to have a guy that is such a great player and a vet like that really reach out to a rookie and then help you out and want to take the time to see you get better."

It's also beneficial to Kessler, who's well aware he could be called upon at any moment.

"He has got to practice. The times you saw him in preseason, he hasn't had an opportunity to have a lot of snaps in practice because normally the guys that played in the preseason were the guys that we were trying to somewhat get ready to play," head coach Hue Jackson said. "If it turns into that, we just have to get him some more reps than what he had before. We'll cross that bridge as we go through this week."

Kessler added "the mental side of it is the biggest thing for preparation when you are a backup or a third-string or whatever it may be because you may not get as many reps."

"You try to get the mental side of it and know everything and know their game plan and know your own game plan," he continued.

"It's a different ball game when you actually get live reps, but I think the more you prepare the more chance you have to be successful."​

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