When Browns coach Hue Jackson speaks, Cody Kessler listens. So the rookie quarterback absorbed every word of their conversation after a loss to Baltimore in which he was pulled from action early in the third quarter.
But trust that Kessler — who is set to make his eighth start this season — hasn't wavered in the meantime. Instead, the first-year player said Thursday said he's used what happened against the Ravens as motivation.
"After the game you kind of have a little bit of a 24-hour rule where it upsets you that night or the next day but you've got to move on, you can let it stick in your head or continue to bother you or else that's what you're going to think about it," he said. "At the same time, you learn from it. It's something you want to move on from but at the same time learn from."
Indeed, Browns coach Hue Jackson said Kessler, who has flashed promise after injuries thrust him into starting job earlier this season, is ready to bounce back against the Steelers this weekend.
"He's out there working, ready to go, bright eyed, excited about the opportunity to play. He is playing the Pittsburgh Steelers. You better be ready," Jackson said, laughing. "I think we have really read into it a little bit more last week. I understand what everybody felt, but I don't think he looked at it that way. I think it motivated him. He is preparing himself to go play, and he will walk out there and go play well this week. That is what he has to do."
"He's the same old guy," left tackle Joe Thomas added. "When something like that happens, you probably get shaken a little bit, your confidence gets a little shaken.
"But seeing him come back to work on Monday and start preparing again like he's the starter, I think the greatest thing for somebody is to be able to go back out to practice, have the command in the huddle again and start throwing the ball because that's what's familiar for you and being the starter and it kind of gets your mind off what happened."
Jackson, who suggested reporters have been overly critical of the third-round draft pick from USC, also lauded Kessler for his poise throughout a trying season that's watched him battle through injuries, rally his teammates and grow each week.
"He's done some things that have been improvements. He has made some jumps in some areas. There are some areas that he wants to make some jumps in. Quarterbacks, they do that from time to time. He is playing with a cast of players week in and week out that he is starting to get familiar with and they are getting familiar with him," he said.
"That's just work in progress. At the same time, young quarterbacks kind of grow at different rates time to time. We want them to grow up as fast as we can, but sometimes guys have to go through their process to get there."
Kessler also shook off the notion that Thursday night might linger when he takes this field Sunday.
"No, you can't play like that, you can't play scared, you can't play timid," he said. "You have to go out and focus on that next moment, that next game and that next play."