Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson pulled rookie quarterback Cody Kessler in favor of veteran signal-caller Josh McCown after the first drive of the second half in a 28-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday Night Football at M&T Bank Stadium.
Despite the change, Jackson believes Kessler will be fine moving forward, and McCown shared that opinion when addressing the media after the loss, the Browns’ 13th straight defeat dating back to last December.
“It’s disappointing to you, but knowing the type of guy Cody is, I fully expect him to bounce back and be just fine,” McCown said. “It’s a tough thing to go through early on, but it’s part of this league, part of this business and it’s a great opportunity for him to grow. I fully expect him to embrace it and move forward.
“Everyone was behind Cody, but things change and you roll with it. If Coach feels like he wants to make a switch, you do the best you can, go in there and do the best you can to help the team.”
The Browns played three different quarterbacks in the game, and Kessler engineered a touchdown drive in the first half. However, after a stagnant start to the third quarter, the Browns went to McCown, but he threw a pair of interceptions in relief.
With Kessler at the helm of the offense, the Browns had an answer for the Ravens’ first score of the game.
Facing a second-and-seven from Baltimore’s 25-yard line, Kessler stood in the pocket and found first-year tight end Seth DeValve breaking free behind veteran safety Eric Weddle. Kessler put the pass only where DeValve would catch it, and the former college wide receiver hauled in his first NFL touchdown pass.
Earlier in the seven-play, 75-yard drive, Kessler completed a 13-yard pass to wide receiver Terrelle Pryor, Sr., and two plays later, one of his throws drew a defensive pass interference penalty.
“I told him to keep his head up,” McCown said. “You go through some of these things and it’s frustrating. It’s hard, but it’s a good opportunity to grow, and it’s real. The adversity you go through when something like this happens, the feelings that you have are real, so he’ll have the opportunity to process those and bounce back.
“I think that’s the difference of being able to sustain and play in this league is the ability to do that, and I have no doubt he’ll respond accordingly. It was a tough day, a tough spot for him, but I’m looking forward to seeing him bounce back.”