Armando Salguero

Dolphins must see which way Kessler goes in his NFL debut for Browns

The Cleveland Browns are down to their third-string rookie quarterback Cody Kessler as their starter in Sunday’s game, the Dolphins’ home opener at Hard Rock Stadium. How he will respond to such a stage will be a key determining factor.
The Cleveland Browns are down to their third-string rookie quarterback Cody Kessler as their starter in Sunday’s game, the Dolphins’ home opener at Hard Rock Stadium. How he will respond to such a stage will be a key determining factor. AP

1 How does Cody Kessler respond? The Browns are down to their rookie third-string quarterback as their starter. This could go one of two ways: He responds as fellow rookie third-stringer Jacoby Brissett responded for the New England Patriots days ago, helping and not hurting his team. Or he simply shows himself unprepared for the moment and the stage as an NFL starting quarterback.

2 What do the Dolphins do at running back? Arian Foster is out. So what are the Dolphins doing? Do they give the football to Jay Ajayi and hope he can carry the offense? That probably isn’t the plan going in. What is more likely is the Dolphins will plan to distribute carries among multiple players. And if one of those runners gets hot … all the better.

3 Can the Dolphins stop Isaiah Crowell? The Browns are a mess, but running back Isaiah Crowell remains a treasure among trash. He rushed for 113 yards against Baltimore, including an 85-yard touchdown. Crowell leads the NFL with a 6.5-yard-per-carry average. The Miami defense is 31st in the NFL in rush yards allowed per game.

4 Do the Dolphins start fast? The Dolphins have been a low-energy, no-urgency team at the start of games for years now and they have so far picked up under Adam Gase where they left off under Joe Philbin. They simply have not taken the fight to the opponent from the opening kickoff so far this season, and the coaching staff is confounded by that. The coaching staff is also working to fix that. If it continues in the home opener, against what seems to be an inferior opponent, the issue becomes a full blown problem.

5 Do Dolphins hang a target on Jamar Taylor? The Browns have a very good cornerback in Joe Haden — although he strained his groin Friday and might not play — on one side, but former Dolphins cornerback Jamar Taylor starts on the other. And the reason Taylor is a former Miami player is because the Dolphins didn’t think he was very good so they traded him. Can Miami use whatever information it has on Taylor to take advantage of him? Or does Taylor join the ranks of the many former Dolphins who go elsewhere and play well, including against their former teammates?

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