CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns are going to let it ride with rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer for the remainder of the 2017 regular season.
Despite a turnover-plagued performance in a 19-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday, Kizer will remain the Browns’ starting quarterback so long as he is healthy enough to take the field.
“Where we are right now, I need to continue to see him,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “Let’s let him play. Let’s let him play this thing out. As long as he is healthy, let’s keep putting him out there.
“I want to walk away from this season knowing exactly what DeShone Kizer is, top to bottom. I think he deserves that. I know this is all tough for him. Week in and week out, it is the consistency he has to keep chasing. He just has to keep working at it.”
PHOTOS: Cleveland Browns battle Jacksonville Jaguars at FirstEnergy Stadium
Against the Jaguars, Kizer completed 16 of his 32 attempts for 179 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions along with three fumbles, two of which were lost. Kizer dropped to 0-9 as the starting quarterback for the Browns, who are just 1-25 in its last 26 outings.
After a slow start to the game, the Jaguars made the most of a Browns turnover, and converted Kizer’s first interception into a 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Blake Bortles to tight end Marcedes Lewis.
On first-and-10 from his own 45-yard line after a shanked punt from Jacksonville, Kizer dropped back to pass over the middle of the field to wide receiver Rashard Higgins. However, he threw into coverage, and linebacker Telvin Smith corralled the interception.
After securing the catch, Smith hustled his way down the field for a 26-yard gain.
“You have to make sure you have wide vision and see the next linebacker,” Jackson said. “That linebacker normally, you would think would buy the fake and go strong. He went weak, and he needs to see that guy. He knows that. It is something he has to work through”
After an earlier field goal in the fourth quarter, the Jaguars iced the game with a strip-sack and scoop-and-score of Kizer in the final two minutes of play.
The Browns faced a first-and-10 from their own 20-yard line when Kizer took the shotgun snap and dropped back to pass. However, Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue rushed around left tackle, got a strip sack and the ball caromed into the end zone from the nine-yard line.
Smith recovered the loose ball in the end zone for the defensive score.
Despite the miscues, Jackson said there is “no question” he still believes Kizer can be a franchise quarterback in the future.
“After the first interception, it takes heart to keep coming in,” Jackson said. “He threw a huge touchdown to Duke (Johnson Jr.) a drive after that. That is what it is. That is the way this game is. I think he will only get better if he will keep taking that mindset and playing. The guy did not blink, and he was getting knocked around pretty good at the end. That is something to build on for him.”