"Cody will walk out there first," coach Hue Jackson said of the first practice open to the public and media on Thursday. "We'll give him an opportunity there." He added that Brock Osweiler, Kevin Hogan and rookie DeShone Kizer will get reps, but "somebody has to walk out there first."
The reason that somebody will be Kessler?
"Because he's still the guy who demonstrates he knows the offense the best," Jackson said. "He's the guy who's played the most football for us in that group."
Jackson said Kizer is "a very talented player" who is "still growing" and "still learning."
Osweiler, Jackson said, has a legitimate chance to win the starting job for opening day against Pittsburgh.
"Yes, he does," Jackson said. "He's here competing. Brock did a good job in OTAs and our offseason program. He's going to walk out there and compete just like the other guys."
Jackson would not say if he has a deadline for naming a starter, nor would he detail how he'd break up reps other than to say he'll do it by feel.
"As we go through the process we'll evaluate and see where we are. There will be markers as we go," Jackson said. "There will be data that we'll look at."
Most coaches like to know by the third preseason game the identity of the starter at quarterback, and Jackson is no different. A year ago when deciding, he said it was important to the player and team to know as early as possible.
This season, he seems inclined to be more patient.
"I'm not going to force it," he said. "I think what's most important is to feel good about the guy we stick out there. So we're not going to be in a rush."