CLEVELAND -- Early weather forecasts are calling for near freezing conditions with the possibility of snow for today’s AFC North Division game between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium.
And although the conditions could be less than ideal, the Browns are anxious to see how their rookie quarterback and southern California native, Cody Kessler, responds to them.
“That is the division we play in and those are the elements that we deal with and we face in this division,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “All of those things you want to expose him to as much as you can so that you can see so you can have an idea of what that is going to look like.”
While Jackson joked with reporters that he wished there was a way for the Browns to simulate conditions like snow and cold, he believes for the team to make progress in the AFC North, they must play well in all types of weather.
“The elements are a part of the game,” Jackson said. “I don’t know what it is going to be like Sunday. I know they are calling for snow, so we will adjust accordingly. It would be different for our players.
“I wish there was a little snow before the game just so I can see how guys handle that, talking about skill guys, quarterback and that thing. I am sure we will do well. We will handle it well, but we won’t try to focus on it too much but understand that it is going to be part of the game.”
Playing in cold, snowy conditions over the last six weeks of the season could go a long way in determining Kessler’s chances of being the long-sought “franchise quarterback” since the Browns' return to the National Football League in 1999.
Kessler has completed 119 of his 178 attempts for 1,241 yards and six touchdowns against one interception in seven appearances since being selected in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of USC.
“I came here with that thought in mind that we are going to solve this quarterback issue that has been here,” Jackson said. “Is the guy on our roster now? We are going to find that out. Is the guy somewhere else? We are going to find that out too.
“That is the beautiful part of it, of trying to solve that, and I think we will. Until we solve that, I am sure like many of you guys feel, we will not be what we want to be. I feel very comfortable and confident that we will get that part of it solved, and then, we will move on from there.”