Hue Jackson: Cleveland Browns' rebuild not just on DeShone Kizer's shoulders

Coach Hue Jackson wants quarterback DeShone Kizer to focus on improvements, not shouldering the entire burden for the Cleveland Browns' struggles.
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CLEVELAND -- Sometimes, Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson has to remind his rookie quarterback, DeShone Kizer, that the turnaround of a team that went 1-15 during the 2016 season is not solely on his shoulders.

Following Sunday’s 31-28 loss to the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium, Jackson said that not everything is on Kizer, and after Monday’s film session, he reiterated the fact that the other 10 players on the field with Kizer must play up to their capabilities in order for the team to win.

“I think he knows the buck starts and stops with him, but I also recognize --  he does, too, and it is my job to show him -- that everybody plays a role in it,” Jackson said. “It is not just him. He has to do his part, and he has to do it better.

“I do get that. He is a guy that wants to make sure that he is out in front and wants to handle things correctly, but I don’t want him feeling like everything is on his shoulders. He has to do his part and do his job better, but we all around him have to do our job better, too.”

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Plagued by eight dropped passes from his wide receivers and tight ends, Kizer completed just 22 of his 47 attempts for 242 yards and two touchdowns, but committed three turnovers, throwing two interceptions to Colts defensive back Rashaan Melvin and a third that spoiled the comeback attempt late in the fourth quarter.

Including Sunday’s loss, Kizer has completed 57 of his 108 attempts (52.8 percent) for 646 yards and three touchdowns against seven interceptions. Additionally, Kizer has been sacked 10 times for 54 lost yards and taken several hits outside of the pocket that have drawn personal foul penalties for late contact.

“We have turned the ball over quite a bit the last several weeks, and we can’t do that if we want to win football games,” Jackson said. “That is part of something that we are talking about all the time. We have to take care of the football, and we have to get more turnovers away from the other team’s offense.”

Because of the three interceptions, two of which stalled potential scoring drives, Kizer shouldered the burden for the Browns’ third straight loss to open the 2017 season.

And when the team returns to the practice field Wednesday to begin their preparations for the Cincinnati Bengals, he knows the ultimate success or failure “goes back to timing,” something that Jackson wants to see become better through another week of practice.

“I don’t think it is a poor decision,” Jackson said. “When I look at it, I think he has to understand the situation and where the people are so the decision is not what it is. The ball is going to the right person. The ball is just not in the right spot more so than anything. It is not decision-related. It is probably accuracy more, making sure that the ball goes at the right person at the right time.”