CLEVELAND -- In each of his last two starts, Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer was pulled prior to or one series into the second half because of turnover troubles, including a pair of two-interception showings.
However, despite those struggles in one-score losses to the New York Jets and Tennessee Titans, Kizer has been reinserted into the starting lineup for today’s game against the Minnesota Vikings at Twickenham Stadium in London as part of the 2017 NFL International Series, and has the full confidence of the coaching staff.
“He’s had a really good week,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “I think DeShone, just like last week, he was fired up about being named the starting quarterback again. I see growth. I see a guy who’s eager to go out and prove that he deserves the job.
“I don’t think DeShone wants to feel like we’re giving him anything. I think he likes to earn it. Obviously, he has to earn it by continuing to play better throughout the whole game. I think he knows that, but he’s had a good week so far.”
Kizer started the first five games of the season for the Browns, but was pulled from a 17-14 loss to the Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium after struggling through a turnover-plagued first-half and remained on the sideline for the entirety of a 33-17 loss to the Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston.
Kizer was reinserted into the starting lineup against the Titans last Sunday, but was again taken out of the lineup midway through the 12-9 loss.
Kizer completed 12 of his 20 attempts for 114 yards against the Titans, but threw two more interceptions and has a league-high 11 passing turnovers in just six starts this season.
“I don’t look at it that way, and I don’t think he does either,” Jackson said. “I don’t think it’s that. It hasn’t been just one bad throw that’s been the reason why I’ve taken him out. It’s been several things that have happened, so I think he’s doing everything that he can to go out and play well.”
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.
“I don’t think he’s sitting there with a thought-process in his mind that, ‘if I don’t do this, this is going to happen,’” Jackson said. “I don’t think you can play quarterback that way, and I don’t think he approaches it that way, so I’m looking forward to him playing well.
“I want him to play four quarters. That’s got to be his goal. That’s got to be our goal. Our goal is to play consistently throughout this football game and score enough points to win, so that’s what we’re looking forward to doing.”