BEREA: The Browns are set to maintain the status quo at football’s most important position for the first time this season.
Coach Hue Jackson expects rookie quarterback Cody Kessler to start for the second consecutive game when the Browns (0-3) visit Washington (1-2) on Sunday.
“There’s no question,” Jackson said Monday.
It would be the first time this season the team has started the same QB in back-to-back weeks.
Robert Griffin III suffered a fractured coracoid bone in his left shoulder in Week 1 and Josh McCown suffered a fractured left collarbone in Week 2, forcing Kessler to make his NFL regular-season debut Sunday in a 30-24 overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins. He impressed in his initial outing by completing 21-of-33 passes for 244 yards without an interception and posting a passer rating of 85.9.
The only way Kessler wouldn’t start against Washington is if Jackson were to receive unforeseen word McCown will be back this week. That isn’t expected to happen.
“I think right now Cody will be our quarterback this week unless something else from the medical staff is told to me,” Jackson said.
Jackson also said immediate changes wouldn’t be made at two other positions generating headlines — kicker and right tackle.
The Browns signed Cody Parkey on Saturday after fellow kicker Patrick Murray suffered a left knee injury in Friday’s walk-through practice. Parkey didn’t have a chance to practice field goals with long snapper Charley Hughlett and holder Britton Colquitt until pregame warm-ups Sunday. Then he proceeded to make just 3-of-6 field goals against the Dolphins, missing attempts of 41, 42 and 46 yards. The failure from 46 yards came with no time left in regulation, and the Browns would have won 27-24 if he had made it.
“I can’t put that on him. That’s a tough situation,” Jackson said. “Well, everybody says, ‘Well, that’s the kicker’s job.’ It is his job, but normally a guy has a job, he’s been around his employer a little bit, he’s been around his teammates a little bit.”
Asked if he plans to keep Parkey, Jackson said, “Yes, I do right now.”
The Miami Herald cited NFL sources who said Browns special teams coordinator Chris Tabor wanted his team to sign free-agent kicker Robbie Gould after Murray was hurt, but the front office decided Gould was too expensive and went with Parkey instead.
But on Monday morning, a Browns source told the Beacon Journal, “Money played no role in the decision. It’s ridiculous to think that it would.”
Parkey signed a one-year, $525,000 contract, according to Spotrac.com. Gould would make $985,000 under the minimum salary for veterans with 10 or more credited seasons. Of course, Gould’s asking price could be higher than the minimum.
The Browns have $57,309,161 in salary-cap space, according to the NFL Players Association.
The Browns source explained the team chose to sign Parkey because he’s young and made the Pro Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles as a rookie in 2014. The organization’s thought was Parkey, if successful, could be a part of its future because he’s only 24. Parkey missed most of last season with a groin injury and lost a duel this year in Eagles training camp to Caleb Sturgis.
Gould, 34, was cut by the Chicago Bears on Sept. 4 after spending 11 seasons as their kicker. He made the Pro Bowl in 2006.
Asked why Parkey was signed instead of Gould, Jackson said, “Because we made an organizational decision that that was the right guy for us.”
“We felt good about watching [Parkey] kick on tape, we felt good about everything that he was doing, we felt he was the best of the group, and we all made that decision together,” Jackson added. “... Nobody else has any right to ever say anything about we should’ve had this guy, or somebody wished they had that guy. We took the guy that we wanted. It was Cody Parkey.”
Jackson also said he’ll stick with Austin Pasztor as the starting right tackle because “he’s the best we have.”
Pasztor primarily faced Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake and had a rough Sunday. He surrendered six pressures, according to ProFootballFocus.com, and at least one sack. He was penalized five times — three holds and two false starts.
“Anytime a guy gives up multiple sacks and has a few penalties, I think everybody thinks that the guy’s not playing as well,” Jackson said. “Were there some times that we could’ve helped him a little more? Yes, there’s no question we could have.
“But I think Austin Pasztor is battling as hard as he can, and I think he’s still the right choice for us over at right tackle. Will I adjust our scheme a little bit to do some things to help him? Yeah, but I wish you guys could see some of the other things that he is doing that balance some of the things that he’s not doing as well.”
Jackson added rookie third-round pick Shon Coleman is too far behind Pasztor to start right now.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Browns blog at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook www.facebook.com/abj.sports.