CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns may have had a bye last week last Sunday, but they were the subject of plenty of reports from national media members for their involvement, or lack thereof, in trade discussions for a quarterback.
Reportedly, the Browns (0-8) botched a trade with the Cincinnati Bengals for career backup A.J. McCarron, and were not able to acquire Jimmy Garoppolo from the New England Patriots, as he went to the San Francisco 49ers instead.
By not pulling off a trade, the Browns will continue to start rookie DeShone Kizer, who will command the offense in the return from the bye week against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit Sunday.
“It is part of this business,” Kizer said of the reports.
“I think that has absolutely nothing to do with my development and where this team stands. It is just another way of letting me know that I need to step my game up, knowing that I have another opportunity this week to be the starting quarterback here. I look forward to going out and proving myself.”
Kizer was benched in each of his previous two starts and sat out a full game in-between heading into a 33-16 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at Twickenham Stadium in London on Sunday, October 29.
However, for the first time in a month, Kizer played a full game, completing 18 of his 34 attempts for 179 yards with no touchdowns and five carries for 18 yards with one score in a loss to the Vikings (6-2). More importantly for the Browns, Kizer did not commit a turnover in the loss.
And when Kizer returned to the facility after the bye week, it was business as usual for the first-year signal-caller.
“There is no reason for one,” Kizer said of an explanation for the McCarron rumors. “He is not here. I’m the starting quarterback this week, and I’m looking forward to continuing to grow, develop and become a better quarterback each time I step out on the field.
“It didn’t go through, so it didn’t really affect me too much. We were on a bye week. I was spending time with my family, and that was my frame of mind.
“I’m back here in the same position that I am and am with the same guys in the locker room. Obviously, with a big addition in JG (Josh Gordon). Other than that, we are really the same squad preparing ourselves to go out against the Detroit Lions.”
In his first seven NFL starts, Kizer completed 111 of his 213 attempts (52.1 percent) for 1,144 yards with three touchdowns against a league-worst 11 interceptions. Additionally, Kizer took 15 sacks for 81 lost yards and held a 51.1 quarterback rating.
That, and not the trade discussions, are where Kizer finds the motivation to better himself.
“I have 10,000 reasons to be motivated to go out and play better,” Kizer said. “Two being the two times I’ve been benched. Once again, I have been getting better each week, and I look forward to coming out here after a nice bye week and preparing myself to go out there and have my best game yet.”
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