CLEVELAND -- Most of the quarterbacks coming out of college and entering the NFL Draft have one thing in common, experience in utilizing the shotgun formation to better run wide-open spread offenses that have become prevalent in recent seasons.
And Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer is no exception, as he has run much of the offense out of the shotgun formation, and done so successfully, leading four scoring drives in two preseason appearances heading into tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.
“We don’t really go into it with a set number,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “We look at the things we need to do to win games, and sometimes, certain things we do are very comfortable for a quarterback in the shotgun.
“Some things are better under center. I think we have been more in the gun than probably anything lately, but we have a variety of different things we do. We will kind of explore as we move forward on what is the best fit for him and kind of play off that.”
While the benefits of the shotgun formation may affect the quarterback positively, it could, in turn, have a negative impact on the running game.
“It is not as effective,” Jackson said. “There is not a lot of different variety when you are in the shotgun, but it is a good running game, too, especially if you can throw the ball off a play-action on it. There is a lot of ways to scheme and do things differently, but it is not as effective as if you have a lead back and somebody behind you and running downhill.”
Despite its potential effects on the running game, Kizer has thrived in the shotgun formation with the Browns.
In two preseason games, Kizer has completed 19 of his 31 attempts for 258 yards with one passing touchdown, a rushing score and four drives that ended in points for the Browns, which was starkly different from the other quarterbacks on the roster.
Kizer completed 10 passes for first downs, four 20-yard plays and two 40-yard throws.
“Our job is to make sure these guys are successful,” Jackson said. “You want them to be the best they can be. If that is where their comfort level is, that is kind of where you tend to lean towards your offense. We will do what we think is best for the 11 guys, but obviously, with the quarterback in mind and kind of go from there.”