It may not be how they wanted it to start, but the Cody Kessler era at quarterback for the Cleveland Browns will start this week in their game against the Miami Dolphins.
With recent injuries to Robert Griffin and Josh McCown, the rookie out of USC will become the Brownsâ€™ third different starting quarterback in as many weeks on Sunday.
And it will be a huge opportunity for Kessler.
Letâ€™s be honest, the Brownsâ€™ organization has become a graveyard for quarterbacks. Since football returned to Cleveland, dozens of extremely talented quarterbacks have come to the organization, and all of them have left in worse shape than they began.
In all, 25 quarterbacks have come and gone since the Browns returned to Cleveland in 1999.
On Sunday, Kessler will get the honor of being the 26th different quarterback to play for the Browns since their return and the fifth different quarterback to play for them over the past five games. In addition to Griffin and McCown this year, Johnny Manziel and Austin Davis started Week 16 and 17 last year, respectively.
Now that being said, with all the struggles the Browns have had a quarterback for so long, there is now a huge opportunity.
The bottom line is that the standard for quarterback play for the Browns is extremely low. Fans in Cleveland arenâ€™t expecting to see the next Peyton Manning or Tom Brady under center for them; they just want steady quarterback play. Heck theyâ€™d probably even be happy with a below-average quarterback as long as he stays healthy.
At this point, fans in Cleveland are searching for one thing â€“ stability. Most importantly, they want stability from the quarterback position.
Which brings us to Kessler and the major opportunity he has in front of him.
Obviously, as a rookie making his NFL debut, Kessler is not going to be the sharpest quarterback in the league on Sunday. But the former third-round pick doesnâ€™t have to be spectacular to make an impact on the Browns. He just has to be steady.
And if he can be exactly that, a steady and reliable quarterback, he will quickly win over the Brownsâ€™ fan base. Theyâ€™ve been desperate for something to cheer about from the quarterback position and, by just making the simple plays; he would quickly endear himself to everyone in Cleveland.
With that being said, the opportunity Kessler now has also comes with a ton of risk for the young quarterback. If he struggles mightily and tries to do too much instead of making the simple plays, he will become a scapegoat in Cleveland. The comparisons between he and Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz will begin, with Kessler looked at as the ultimate failure from Brownsâ€™ management.
And in a flash, the rookie will go from the hope of the future, to the failure of the present.
As you can see, there really is no middle ground for the rookie in 2016. Now that he is in the starting lineup, only one of two things will happen by seasons end.
Heâ€™ll either be the clear-cut starting quarterback for the Browns going forward in the future.
Or heâ€™ll be the scapegoat of everything that has gone wrong in Cleveland.
Weâ€™ll start to find out the answer to that question on Sunday.