CLEVELAND -- In the last three games, Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer has spent nearly eight full quarters on the bench watching second-year signal-callers Kevin Hogan and Cody Kessler play against the New York Jets, Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans.
Despite struggling with turnovers throughout the first six starts of his career, Kizer will reassume the starting quarterback role in Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings at Twickenham Stadium in London in the 2017 NFL International Series.
“It is another opportunity to go out there and get it right for once,” Kizer said. “For me, it is about taking these opportunities that Coach (Hue Jackson) has been able to give me in a league where not a lot of guys get these and maximizing it for once.”
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 Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium after struggling through a turnover-plagued first-half and remained on the sideline for 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.
During the second half, Jackson benched Kizer for the second time in three weeks, this time in favor of 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.
“You don’t ever have to worry about me not bringing aggressiveness,” Kizer said. “That is who I am. My instincts are always going to want to push the ball down the field, but also, accepting that not putting the ball in harm’s way is the best thing for us.
“I think that in the first half, up until that last throw of the first half in the last game is exactly who I want to be as a quarterback. The guy who is stringing together good drives, putting the ball in our playmakers’ hands and creating some positive drives for us to make sure that we can put ourselves in position to win a game.”
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.
“It has been pretty disappointing to have a start the way that we have had,” Kizer said. “My ultimate goal was to come here and win games for this team and represent this organization the right way, and I haven’t been on that path. It is about accepting what has happened in these first seven weeks and doing something different to change that.
“It is a productivity-based industry, so I am sure that if I go out there and I am not producing the way I am going to, you are going to have the same results. It is about doing whatever I can this week and making sure that when I am out there, I am producing and obviously, attacking the biggest mistake, and that is turnovers.”
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