BEREA, Ohio -- Two games into the season, Browns head coach Hue Jackson has two losses and more injuries than he cares to count.
From the depth chart he scrawled before Week 1 on Sept. 4, Jackson has already lost one starting quarterback, one substitute starting quarterback, a starting center and a starting defensive end.
Despite the obstacles, Jackson maintains he isn't discouraged as the Browns prepare to face the Dolphins on Sunday in Miami. Both teams are 0-2.
Rookie third-round pick Cody Kessler will start at quarterback because Robert Griffin III is on injured reserve with a shoulder injury suffered in the opener and Week 2 starter Josh McCown is "week to week" with a shoulder injury.
John Greco will start at center because Cameron Erving is recovering from a bruised lung. Xavier Cooper will start at defensive end because standout rookie Carl Nassib is sidelined with a broken hand.
"As long as you guys still see me sitting upright, I'm going to be fine," Jackson said. "This is pro football and these things happen, maybe not to this degree any place I've been, but I've been toughened before. I've been in the abyss - whatever they say, the bad abyss - before. I've been there. We're not getting dragged under, I promise you that. We're going to keep fighting and that's what I told the guys. We are not going to get caught up in this. "
Greco has previous experience playing center and Cooper, in his second season, started last week against the Ravens. This will be Kessler's first NFL action.
Kessler warmed up on the sideline when it appeared McCown might not finish the game against the Ravens, but McCown bravely took every offensive snap. This week, though, there is no doubt.
Kessler is a third-round draft pick from USC. The Browns could have selected Dak Prescott of Mississippi State, who is 1-1 with the Dallas Cowboys, but Jackson infamously said "trust me on this one," when he reached for Kessler instead. He is sticking by that declaration, even though Kessler is being forced into a starting role much earlier than planned.
"You're going to trust me this weekend," Jackson said. "Here we go. Here we go. Trust me. Here we come. Here we go. We'll see what that statement was all about."
Kessler is disappointed for McCown, but he is eager to validate Jackson's faith in him. He said he doesn't have to change his routine because he has been preparing to start since rookie minicamp in May.
"I think it's been awesome, because Hue's trusted me through this whole process," Kessler said. "He knows since I got here from Day One, that I really am excited. When you get a coach like that, that really loves the game and also really loves his players and really wants you to succeed, it makes you want to play better."
The Browns do not know when McCown might be cleared to play again, but they did not resume practice for the Dolphins on Wednesday with Kessler and rookie Kevin Hogan, who is on the practice squad, as their only quarterbacks. They worked out 34-year-old Charlie Whitehurst on Monday and signed him that evening.
SERIES HISTORY: 17th regular-season meeting. Series tied, 8-8. The Browns beat the Dolphins four straight times before Miami won, 23-10, in 2013. Romeo Crennel coached two of those victories. Eric Mangini and Pat Shurmur coached one each.