BY BARRY JACKSON
After allowing triple digit passer ratings to two backup quarterbacks on Sunday, the Dolphins reportedly will face another in their home opener this weekend.
But Cleveland rookie third-string quarterback Cody Kessler, who’s expected to start for the Browns against the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, doesn’t have nearly as good a team around him as the Patriots’ Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett do.
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Garoppolo had a 130.8 passer rating against the Dolphins before his injury on Sunday, and Brissett produced a 100.2.
Kessler, a third-round pick out of Southern California, threw for 3536 yards, 29 touchdowns and seven interceptions as a senior at USC but averaged a meager 3.3 yards per pass attempt for the Browns in preseason, completing 19 of 28 passes for 92 yards with one touchdown and an 84.2 passer rating. He threw very short passes in preseason, for the most part.
Kessler replaces Josh McCown, who is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury. McCown replaced Robert Griffin III, who might miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.
THREE AND OUTS
Of the Dolphins’ 24 possessions this season, they have failed to produce a first down on nine of them.
“Offensively, we cannot go three and out,” coach Adam Gase said. “We’ve done it so many times already it’s ridiculous. The defense has no chance in the fourth quarter of having any opportunity to be somewhat fresh if we’re three and out the entire first half.”
• Among a bunch of other problems Sunday: linebackers being beaten by Patriots receivers in pass coverage.
“We had some busts,” linebacker Kiko Alonso said. “We’ve got to do better at doing our job. A lot of times, we were in bad position.”
On the subject of linebackers covering receivers, Gase said: “We had a couple minor mistakes that cost us. As far as guys reacting a little quicker, it would have put us in better position. For whatever reason, we didn’t execute like we showed in practice. We did not do exactly what we talked about.”
• DeVante Parker, who caught eight of his 13 targets for 106 yards, said he’s still not 100 percent because of a hamstring injury and that he doesn’t have all of his explosiveness back.
“When I get there, it’s going to be a whole different kind of ball game,” Parker said.
Gase said Parker played well Sunday but “we got a couple things we got to clean up as far as route technique and assignments. As far as him being a playmaker, that’s pretty obvious. He’s a guy we have to keep on the field.”
In the Dolphins’ final play of the game, the interception in the end zone, Parker said: “I mistimed it. Went farther than I imagined.”
• Mike Pouncey remains out, for now, with a hip injury and his status is “going to be week to week,” Gase said…. Linebacker Spencer Paysinger, who left Sunday’s game with a neck injury, said it’s nothing serious and he expects to play Sunday.
• Asked if Sunday is a must-win, Gase said: Is Sunday a must win? “No. It’s the third game of the year.”
• The Dolphins play two games in the next 11 days (Cleveland Sunday, at Cincinnati on Sept. 29), and Gase: “If you don’t take care of your body the entire week, it’s going to affect you for the next one.”