It’s Week 3 in the NFL, so it must be time for Quarterback No. 3 in Cleveland.
Yes, the bad-luck Browns are on their fifth starting quarterback in their last five games, their 26th since relaunching as a franchise in 1999. Rookie Cody Kessler from USC will start in place of the injured Josh McCown (shoulder), who had replaced the injured Robert Griffin III (shoulder).
Kessler, a third-round pick, was the sixth quarterback drafted last spring. The Browns, 0-2 after losing at home to the Baltimore Ravens, play Sunday at Miami.
“You’d love to have that luxury [of a veteran], but sometimes you’re not afforded that,” Browns Coach Hue Jackson told reporters Monday.
The New England Patriots also are on their last-resort quarterback, rookie Jacoby Brissett, who will start Thursday in place of the injured Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder). The Patriots will host the Houston Texans.
Technically, Brissett isn’t a third-string quarterback, but only because Tom Brady is suspended for the first four games.
Things looking up
First, they’re ousted from the playoffs by the Seattle Seahawks when Blair Walsh misses a last-minute, 27-yard field-goal attempt.
Then, the Vikings lose quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a season-ending knee injury last month on the final practice before the Vikings’ exhibition finale.
And on Sunday, All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson suffered what looked to be a devastating knee injury in the third quarter of a victory over the Green Bay Packers. Turns out, the injury wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. Peterson suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee and there’s a wide-ranging timeline for when he might return.
Depending on whether he decides to play through the pain, have doctors trim the meniscus or have the meniscus fixed, Peterson might not have to sit out at all or could be sidelined for as long as 10 weeks.
Relatively speaking, that’s good news for the Vikings, who defeated the Packers in an impressive debut by quarterback Sam Bradford and play at Carolina on Sunday.
Running on empty
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
So you could say the Rams’ 9-3 victory over the Seahawks on Sunday was a defensive masterpiece.
You could also say these teams couldn’t find the end zone with a GPS device and a pack of bloodhounds.
The Rams, who have scored nine points in two games, are the only NFL team without a touchdown through the first two weeks. The Seahawks have scored 15 points in a league in which, heading into Monday night’s game, 12 teams had scored more than 50.
The Rams are still figuring out their quarterback situation and when it might be best to give No. 1 pick Jared Goff the keys to the offense. But this start is really troubling for the Seahawks, with Russell Wilson playing on a tender ankle behind a porous and patchwork offensive line.
Seattle rolled up more yards rushing than any other team in the league the last four seasons, most with the now-retired Marshawn Lynch in the backfield, but its ground game is sputtering this season. The Seahawks gained 67 yards in 24 carries against the Rams and their offensive line — without Russell Okung and J.R. Sweezy, who left in free agency — was manhandled by the Rams’ defensive front.
Both the Rams and Seahawks could break out of their funk Sunday, each facing a team that surrendered at least 40 points in Week 2 road defeats. The Rams play at Tampa Bay (40-7 losers at Arizona), and the Seahawks host the San Francisco 49ers (46-27 losers at Carolina).
The Jacksonville Jaguars’ Gus Bradley, too, can feel the temperature rising. His team is also 0-2, bringing his record to 12-38 as Jaguars coach. After a home game against Baltimore, the Jaguars play the Indianapolis Colts in London.
Losing coaches have to be leery of London games because bye weeks necessarily come on the heels of those, making it the most opportune time to make a coaching change. The Oakland Raiders’ Dennis Allen was fired immediately after a London loss, as was the Miami Dolphins’ Joe Philbin.
The defense rests
Who are the real Raiders?
They pulled off that bold victory in Week 1 at New Orleans, 35-34, with Derek Carr completing a two-point conversion pass to Michael Crabtree with 47 seconds left.
Then Sunday, they suffered a 35-28 loss at home to the Atlanta Falcons, who got picked apart by the Tampa Bay’ Buccaneers’ Jameis Winston in their opener.
One consistency with the Raiders is their defense has not been good, giving up 507 and 528 yards in consecutive weeks. The addition of free agents Bruce Irvin, Sean Smith, and Reggie Nelson has yet to pay dividends.
As we learned on “Hard Knocks” this summer, Rams defensive end William Hayes doesn’t believe that dinosaurs actually existed.
Then he saw the Coliseum.