CLEVELAND -- Stick with rookie DeShone Kizer or go with the hot hand and start second-year quarterback Kevin Hogan?
That is the question facing Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson, and he is not going to rush his quarterback decision heading into Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston.
“I am going to take some time, continue to look at the tape and make a decision which I think is best for our football team,” Jackson said.
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Jackson pulled Kizer after a turnover-filled first half in Sunday’s 17-14 loss to the New York Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium, and in relief, Hogan engineered two touchdown drives and gave the Browns a lead in a game for the first time all season.
“There are some things we can do better,” Jackson said. “There is no question. We went up and down the field. Obviously, we had more yards than we have had all year and there were times we played like I think our offensive team should look, but we have to finish in the scoring zone.
“Anytime you turn the ball over down there, you stop your team from scoring and not only from scoring the other team has the ball, and now, they get a chance to go score. We need to fix those things. DeShone, obviously, he has to improve in that area.”
Over the first 15 minutes of play, the Browns had 61 yards of total offense and mounted a late-quarter drive that travelled 50 yards and into the goal-to-go area. However, Kizer threw an option pitch out of the reach of running back Isaiah Crowell, and the Jets pounced on the loose ball for the fumble recovery at their own three-yard line.
Then, on the interception, Kizer took a shotgun snap from center JC Tretter, rolled to his right and fired a pass toward second-year tight end Seth DeValve. However, Jets safety Marcus Maye jumped the route, corralled the turnover and returned it out to the New York 14-yard line for a 12-yard gain.
“When you get in the scoring zone, things get compacted a little bit, so maybe, we are not seeing some things we need to see down there as clearly as we need to,” Jackson said. “There are some other throws that he made that were outstanding in certain situations, but down there, let’s just be honest, that is where these things have reared their ugly head. It has been for several games, so obviously, we are not seeing it as well as we need to.”
In relief of Kizer, Hogan connected on 16 of his 19 attempts for 194 yards with two touchdowns and one interception on a deflection. Hogan finished the game with a 122.4 quarterback rating. Kizer posted a 38.1 rating.
“My decision is what is best for the team,” Jackson said. “What is best for our team to put us in position to win? Also, what is best for DeShone? It’s not just for the team, but what is best for him just so that he can feel like, ‘Okay, I am moving further along in this process and I’m understanding what I need to do to be better.’ All of that will go into my decision making.”