CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson wanted rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer to see the game from a different lens before reinserting him into the starting lineup, and he gave the first-year player six straight quarters on the sideline to do so.
Prior to Wednesday’s practice, the Browns (0-6) announced that Kizer would start against the Tennessee Titans (3-3) at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday, and the first-year quarterback admitted the “competitive juices are flowing” after getting benched, which Jackson was glad to hear.
“Absolutely, when you don’t get to play, a lot of things happen, especially when it is something you want really bad,” Jackson said. “There were a lot of things I was trying to accomplish in that; that wasn’t one of them, but I think it is a byproduct of that situation. Hopefully, there are a lot of lessons learned, and he will grow from it and come out and play as well as I think he can.”
On the way to being benched for six straight quarters, Kizer completed just eight of his 17 throws for 87 yards with one interception and one lost fumble, while second-year quarterback Kevin Hogan connected on 16 of his 19 attempts for 194 yards with two touchdowns and one interception on a deflection in a 17-14 loss to the New York Jets to weeks ago.
In the loss to the Jets, Kizer posted a 38.1 quarterback rating in what was his fourth straight outing with a completion percentage under 50.
“Sometimes, that is what it takes,” Jackson said. “Sometimes, people think it takes three weeks, four weeks. I am not in that school of thought. I think if a guy can learn the lessons and if he can regurgitate it back to me in conversation and in work and me seeing those things change, then hopefully, the lesson is learned.
“Everybody is different. Some people, it takes longer, and some people, it doesn’t. DeShone, as I have said to you guys before, I didn’t know how long it was going to take. I just know he was going to play again. I told all of you that. He is playing this week, and I am looking forward to watching him play. Hopefully, the lessons are learned and we will grow from there.”
In his first five NFL starts, Kizer completed 81 of his 159 attempts (50.9 percent) for 851 yards with three touchdowns against nine interceptions, and that is why Jackson is not yet rechristening him the Browns’ starter for the remainder of the year.
“I know he is the guy right now,” Jackson said. “I hope he is. I hope there are no more times that we have to take him out and let him reset himself. I am going to say it again, we are talking about a young quarterback who is 21-years old, who is in the National Football League and he is wearing a lot of different hats.
“I thought it was the right thing to do. As a matter of fact, I know it was the right thing to do a week ago. I think we will be better for it. I think he will be better for it. Hopefully, we will see the growth from him taking a week off last week.”
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