The Facts: A grueling workout regimen and an ultra-strict diet allowed Kessler to gain a few pounds of muscle, lower his body-fat percentage and augment his arm strength this offseason. Those physical gains have combined with polished mechanics to make Kessler more confident about his mission to become the starting quarterback of the Browns and ultimately lead them to wins a year after he went 0-8 as a rookie for a team that finished 1-15. "Being able to push the ball down the field and having that confidence and knowing that you can get it there and put a little more on it is something that definitely helps you," Kessler said Wednesday.
Diehards Line: Kessler is working as the first-team quarterback during OTAs in an open competition with Brock Osweiler, rookie DeShone Kizer and Kevin Hogan. And even though Kessler is the early favorite to start the Sept. 10 regular-season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, arm strength will be a crucial factor in his bid. HC Hue Jackson wants his quarterback to trigger a consistently successful deep-passing attack, but Kessler failed to adequately meet the request this past season. Jackson publicly lamented the shortcoming and thereby foreshadowed his decision to bench Kessler in the third quarter of a Thursday night game with the Browns trailing the Baltimore Ravens by six points. It's safe to say Kessler got the message.