CLEVELAND -- All throughout training camp, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Kenny Britt trumpeted the virtues of rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer, and went so far as to say the first-year signal-caller could be one of the NFL's greats.
Despite Kizer starting his NFL career with three straight regular-season losses, including a pair to AFC North Division teams in the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium and Baltimore Ravens on the road, Britt still believes in his young quarterback because of “how he takes the weeks after a loss.”
“He doesn’t take them very well,” Britt said. “He wants to come in each and every day to get better. He is fighting to get better for himself and with the team. This offense has only been together since OTAs as a group and as a unit, and really, all together since the last preseason game.
“We are young within the offense, and we are still learning. We are going to be scary in November and December, and that is when the good teams get great, to tell you the truth.”
Plagued by eight dropped passes from his wide receivers and tight ends in last Sunday's 31-28 loss to the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium, Kizer completed just 22 of his 47 attempts for 242 yards and two touchdowns, and committed three turnovers, throwing two interceptions to 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 in his first NFL start. 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.
“You want a quarterback who is making sure he is coming back to his receivers because we are the ones out there and we want to help him out, but we have to help him out by catching the ball,” Britt said. “He did a great job. Regardless of where he is putting the ball, our job is to make sure that he looks good out there.”
According to Britt, for the Browns to help out Kizer, they need to work together in the classroom throughout the week by “watching more film and talking to each other.”
“Guys have to be on the same page,” Britt said. “Being a veteran receiver, I need to help him out as much as I can. It is a lot on the quarterback to make sure that everyone is lined up and in their positions, but you have to take that off him. You have to go out there and know where to line up, where to go and running routes in certain coverages.
“(It’s) him asking questions of where we are going to be at in certain coverages. 'If I see this, where are you going to be? What are you going to do?' We have to respond so that we are on the same page.”