Quarterback Josh McCown, who injured his shoulder Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, and is week-to-week and will not play when the Cleveland Browns travel to Miami to face the Dolphins. Although Browns coach Hue Jackson stopped short of making it official, rookie Cody Kessler will be under center for the Browns, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Kessler will be the third starting quarterback in as many weeks for the Browns, and dating back to last season, the fifth starting quarterback in five weeks.
The Week 1 starter, Robert Griffin III, went on injured reserve last week when he also fractured his shoulder. After the injury, Griffin claimed he was fine and would play the following week, but the fracture will keep him sidelined for 8-12 weeks.
In Week 2, Cleveland was rolling offensively before McCown got hurt. They led the Ravens 20-2 after the first quarter, and McCown hit rookie wide receiver Corey Coleman with two touchdown passes.
After the injury, though, Cleveland was unable to score and lost 25-20. McCown was in pain and needed help removing his shirt in the locker room following the game, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Still, his plan was to be ready for next Sunday.
"We will see,'' McCown said, according to Cabot. "My mindset is that everything will be alright and we'll move ahead business as usual. It's just a matter of letting the doctors and trainers do their job, and my expectations are to play some ball."
McCown was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of the injury, but he insisted after Sunday’s loss that he planned to play against the Dolphins.
"I don't want to be out there without my guys," McCown said after the game. "Unless it is going to fall off, let's try to make it work and make it go. That is my mentality."
This wasn’t the only potentially serious injury suffered by a Browns player against the Ravens on Sunday. Cleveland’s center, Cam Erving, suffered a bruised lung during the loss and was taken to the hospital after the game. Defensive end Carl Nassib broke his hand and will undergo surgery.
Kessler was drafted in the third round out of USC and has yet to see the field. He could be the fourth rookie quarterback to start in the NFL in Week 3. Dak Prescott has started two games for the Dallas Cowboys due to Tony Romo's back injury and Carson Wentz has been the starter for the Philadelphia Eagles since Week 1. Meanwhile, the New England Patriots will likely turn to Jacoby Brissett after Jimmy Garoppolo was injured Sunday.
Jackson wouldn't reveal what his plans are for the No. 2 quarterback position, but Charlie Whitehurst's agency tweeted that the veteran free agent quarterback is signing with the Browns. The 34-year-old journeyman played last season for the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts. He's played in just 25 games and has completed 55.1 percent of his passes, throwing 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions in his career.
The Browns also have Kevin Hogan on their practice squad. Hogan, who was a fifth-round pick by the Kansas City Chiefs, could be promoted to the active roster. One other option is Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor, who played quarterback during his time at Ohio State.