Cody Kessler's numbers to date, in a sense, are reflective of his productive career at USC. That's been a good thing for the third-round rookie who entered the season as the third-string option but rose to the challenge when injuries decimated the position by Week 3.
The Browns rookie quarterback has been accurate and efficient, completing close to 68 percent of his passes for 1,150 yards, five touchdowns and just one interception. He's done this despite taking a number of hard hits and working through multiple injuries.
Still, there's room to grow, and Browns coach Hue Jackson highlighted an area Tuesday where he believes Kessler can truly expand Cleveland's offense.
Asked if Kessler was being "too careful" with the football, Jackson indicated he'd like to see the rookie stretch the field more often.
"Are you asking do I want to see the ball go down the field more? Yes, I do. I think it needs to," Jackson said. "That is the way we in this offense score more points. Cody has done a good job of distributing the ball and he has done a good job of putting the ball in the right places for the most part, but he knows now that in the National Football League you have to sometimes take a few more chances to score points because the defenses are too good. They will give you certain things because they know you will take them and try to beat you in the other things.
"We have to always stay aggressive and push the ball when we can because it gives us a chance to have big plays and make big plays."
Kessler agreed and said it wasn't for a lack of trying.
"We have had some calls in that last game for the long ball, and unfortunately, it was not there either or something happened," Kessler said. "I missed one to Corey (Coleman) or missed one to him in the end zone, as well, but we are calling them and we are trying to take the shots and make them, but that is on me. I have to be more accurate with the long ball and be more accurate with getting the ball to the right guy."
On Monday, when asked to single out any highlights from the previous game against the Cowboys, Jackson was reluctant to pass along any praise from a performance that saw Cleveland fall, 35-10. Pressed about Kessler's outing, which was particularly strong in the first half, Jackson pointed at the team's 0-9 record, which falls on everyone, including the quarterback.
The positives can be plucked week by week, but the ultimate goal of winning is the end-all, be-all.
And Kessler's just fine being held to that standard.
"I have heard that since I have been playing the game," Kessler said. "As a quarterback, that is the biggest thing you focus on is your win/loss record, and that is on me 100 percent in the aspect of finding ways to win. I take full responsibility for that. The guys around me have done a great job of helping me out and doing everything and working hard. At the end of the day, the stats may be what they are but you can't focus on that. You focus on the win/loss record, and that is something that I have taken very seriously throughout my career.
"That is the biggest thing that I focus on, whether it was in high school, even little league, high school to college and now to the NFL."