CLEVELAND -- By their nature, competitive people do not like seeing someone else do the job they can do or once held, and that applies infinitely more to professional athletes.
Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer spent six straight quarters on the bench after being removed at halftime of a 17-14 loss to the New York Jets, but following last week’s 33-17 setback to the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium, he has been reinstalled as the starter for this week’s game against the Tennessee Titans.
“It definitely sparked my competitive juices,” Kizer said of the benching. “It definitely motivated me throughout the week to make sure that I am doing extra. I think the most important thing that I got to see, from my perspective last week, is what my process is and what our process is as a unit and how, in this league, you have to talk less and do more.”
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According to Kizer, he was able to stay “on my same path” and stick “to the process” of learning how to be a professional quarterback despite being on the sidelines for six straight quarters.
“Absolutely, when you are on the sideline, you get to feel the momentum of the game a little more than when you are out there,” Kizer said.
“You get to see the reactions of everyone. From the fans to the coaching staff, to the defense, you get to see all the different parts that move along throughout a game. For me, it really showed last week the importance of making sure that the ball is just simply out of harm’s way and what positive plays can do for the team.”
Throughout the course of last Sunday’s loss to the Texans, Kizer had regular meetings with coach Hue Jackson, who wanted him to understand the game from a different perspective.
“He was just making sure that I was locked in on learning something,” Kizer said. “Every time in the second half when we came together, he was like ‘What did you see? What did you see? What did you see?’
“That allowed for me to stay engaged and made sure that he understood that I was out there and getting something from sitting out that game. From there, those conversations are what are going to lead us in practice and make sure that we can continue to head in the right direction.”
In his first five NFL starts, Kizer completed 81 of his 159 attempts (50.9 percent) for 851 yards with three touchdowns against nine interceptions. Additionally, Kizer took 12 sacks for 63 lost yards and had a 49.5 quarterback rating.
“You have to have a better attitude. You have to do more,” Kizer said. “That is what this game is. It is doing more. For me, my personal process I think has been good. I am going to stick to it and I am going to stay on the path that I am on. Now, it is just attacking it with a new energy, a new mindset and allowing myself to get out there and perform better.”