Perennial Cleveland Browns Pro Bowler Joe Thomas believes teammate Cody Kessler is ready to make a big jump in 2017.
Thomas spoke about his vision of Kessler’s likely improvement during the annual Cleveland Browns Foundation Golf Tournament, per beat writer Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer.
Now, this is not groundbreaking stuff from the future Hall of Fame left tackle. Thomas is making some perfectly reasonable assertions. Kessler’s experience in 2017 should be different, and with presumably better results than last season. He was abruptly vaulted into the Browns starting quarterback position last season after beginning the year as an unheralded third-string player, one who needed significant development before he would be ready to see the field.
It’s not insane to think Kessler has improved from that point until now, as Thomas articulated. What would be scary is if he failed to show signs of progress after gaining valuable experience and having been put in a better position to succeed this season.
Kessler’s progress alone, though, isn’t the determining factor for whether his experiences have helped him progress enough to secure the starting job during training camp. And winning that competition isn’t necessarily the barometer for judging his improvement. Hue Jackson’s decision will tell us whether Kessler is already the quarterback he needs to lead his offense, or if he needs more time to get there.
So, despite ol’ Joe’s most recent optimistic remarks and the presumed improvement Kessler will hopefully display this offseason, the Browns are not going to settle on the youngster if either DeShone Kizer or Brock Osweiler’s play warrants bumping him back down the depth chart. That’s fine, because last year at this time there was virtually no one who thought Kessler would be leading the team’s quarterback competition so soon in his career.