The Cleveland Browns are sticking with rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer.
Prior to Wednesday’s practice, the Browns (0-7) announced that Kizer would start against the NFC North-leading Minnesota Vikings (5-2) in Sunday’s game at Twickenham Stadium in London, which is part of the NFL International Series for 2017.
“I truly believe DeShone is going to grow out of a lot of this,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said Monday. “I do, but that takes time and that takes work. He is working at it. I thought we all saw improvement from him in the first half up until the first turnover. He was doing some really good things and playing well.
“I said this a long time ago. The pressure of playing quarterback in the National Football League is sometimes a big task for some men. Sometimes, you are going to get some of this where things are not going as well until they come out of this. The unfortunate part for us is you don’t get to come out of it and win games this way. You have to work through it.”
The No. 52 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft out of the University of Notre Dame, Kizer started the first five games of the season for the Browns, but was pulled from a 17-14 loss to the New York Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium after struggling through a turnover-plagued first-half and remained on the sideline for a 33-17 loss to the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston.
Kizer was reinserted into the starting lineup against the Tennessee Titans last Sunday, but was again taken out of the lineup midway through the 12-9 loss.
During the second half, Jackson benched Kizer for the second time in three weeks, this time in favor of second-year signal-caller Cody Kessler. Kizer completed 12 of his 20 attempts for 114 yards, but threw two more interceptions and has a league-high 11 passing turnovers in just six starts this season.
In relief, Kessler completed 10 of his 19 throws for 121 yards with one interception.
In his first six NFL starts, Kizer completed 93 of his 179 attempts (51.9 percent) for 965 yards with three touchdowns against 11 interceptions. Additionally, Kizer has taken 12 sacks for 63 lost yards and holds a 47.8 quarterback rating.
“This business is a performance-based business,” Jackson said. “It is about winning. It is not about just developing. Somebody said that to me the other day. You develop quarterbacks, there is no question, but you are in charge of winning football games, not just developing a football player.
“At the end of this, I think what is important is our quarterback has to put his team in a position to win. That is growth. It is going to happen on the practice field. It can still happen in games, but I have to see the growth. If I stick you back out there and you do the same things, the same thing is going to happen. You are going to come over here and stand next to me. That is just the way it has to be.”