"Everyone loves the backup QB until he actually gets in the game."
Words commonly expressed by football commentators, analysts and the like. But every once in a while a back up gets in the game and actually provides a little juice. Everyone once in a while a guy gets in there and shows he should have been the starter all along.
We don't know if that'll be the case with Cody Kessler. Heck, we don't even know if he will start for the Big Cats in week eight when the team travels to London to take on the Eagles.
But what I'm here to tell you is that the Jaguars should absolutely give Kessler a shot to be the team's starter.
With 10:50 left in the third quarter of the Jaguars 20-7 week seven loss to the Texans, Blake Bortles was benched - after his second fumble of the game, a fumble that gave the Texans the ball at the Jaguars 12 yard line - in favor of Cody Kessler and I don't believe Bortles deserves to retake his role as the starter moving forward.
Cody Kessler may not be the key to the Jaguars turning things around in 2018, but it's quite obvious that an offense led by QB Blake Bortles is not going to get the Jaguars back to the playoffs. The Bortles led Jaguars were blanked in the first half of three straight games, a feat (I jest) never accomplished by any Jaguars team in franchise history.
Cody Kessler deserves to start. After entering the contest against the Texans on Sunday, already down by 20 points, Kessler completed 20 of his 31 passing attempts. He did so despite seeing heavy pressure. The Jaguars offensive line didn't do him any favors, surrendering a ton of pressure not only against blitzes, but also against three and four man rushes. The Texans didn't play patty cake after the Jaguars backup entered the game, no they came after him. He handled it better than could have been expected. Having been sacked four times and seeing three easy catches dropped by receivers - one of which ended up getting picked off by Tyrann Mathieu - it would have been easy for Cody Kessler to get down in the dumps, but he battled big time in this one.
During the third quarter, on his second drive at the helm, Kessler led the Jaguars on their first and only scoring drive of the day. Set up with great field position at the Texans 47 yard line thanks to a 21 yard Dede Westbrook punt return, Kessler completed seven of nine passing attempts including a heaving pitch to TJ Yeldon in the end zone to cap the drive off with a TD.
Later, with 5:49 left in the contest, Kessler led the Jaguars on another drive that appeared to be a promising one. Starting at their own 20 yard line, and facing adversity after a Whitney Mercilus strip sack (recovered by the Jaguars) on the first play of the drive, Cody Kessler led the Jaguars down the field completing eight of eight passes until TJ Yeldon let an easy catch slip through his grasp, only to be picked off by Tyrann Mathieu. Even if the Jaguars had not scored a touchdown on the drive, they surely should have been able to manage a field goal.
Kessler put together the two best offensive drives the Jaguars have seen in the last three weeks and he did so in spite of the poor circumstances. His play on Sunday, throughout training camp, the preseason, and as a starter for the Cleveland Browns in 2016 leads me to believe he is the only true option for the Jaguars when they take on the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles at Wembley next Sunday.
As a starter for the Browns in 2016 Cody Kessler, a rookie at the time, completed 65.6% of his passes and threw three times the amount of TDs as he did interceptions.
Evidence suggests, even with his somewhat limited mobility, that Cody Kessler stands a much better chance of operating a functioning offense in Nate Hackett's system right now than does Blake Bortles. He has the ability to get the ball out on time and accurately, something Bortles hasn't done, with any regularity, since December and January of last season.
With Carlos Hyde likely to take over as the feature back in Jacksonville, at least when they're trying to run with power, Cody Kessler, if given the opportunity will likely be able to manage games, giving receivers a chance to make plays without being a walking turnover machine.
I don't think it's outside of the realm of possibility that the Jaguars could trade for a veteran QB, but even if they do make a move, Kessler is the logical choice to get the start in week eight.
Jaguars HC Doug Marrone informed the media that he has made a decision on who the starter will be for the Jaguars in week eight, but has not yet spoken to the QBs, so he wouldn't comment on just who the starter will be.
At 3-4 the Jaguars are still in the thick of the AFC South divisional race, but standing pat after losing four of five games due to a faulty offense is out of the question.
What do you think? Who should get the nod at QB in Jacksonville?
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