CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson was so confident in the skills that rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer showed through the first three weeks of the preseason and during training camp that he named him the starter for the regular season one day after the team’s 13-9 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.
And because Kizer started training camp as the third-team quarterback, Jackson feels his rookie signal-caller worked his way into the starting lineup.
“He has earned the right to play through his preparation,” Jackson said in a conference call with the Cleveland media. “He has established a work ethic that I think has earned the respect of his teammates. I think it will forward him the ability to [run the] offense as we move forward, which hopefully, will lead to success.
“It has been good to watch his development throughout the offseason. Obviously, he is a young quarterback and he still has a lot to learn. He is going to learn a lot and gain a lot of experience, and the only way you get that is by playing. We are all excited about that.”
Through the first three games of the preseason, Kizer completed 25 of his 49 attempts for 351 yards and one touchdown against two interceptions. Despite his 51.0 completion percentage, Kizer averaged 7.2 yards per attempt, the best of all Browns quarterbacks this preseason.
In the Browns’ 13-9 win over the Buccaneers Saturday, Kizer completed just six of his 18 throws with an interception, but gained 93 yards through the air.
“His pocket presence again continues to stand out,” Jackson said. “He made a play while on the move to Corey (Coleman) early, which was a third down, a beautiful play. I thought that he did a good job of redirecting protections and managing that part of it extremely well.
“He put the team in good situations to be successful. As I just said, around him, we all have to do our jobs better to better support him. When there is a chance to catch the ball, we have to catch it, and when there is a chance to hold onto it in the scoring zone, we have to do that, but I thought he led the team and gave us opportunities to score points, which we didn’t finish as a unit.”
According to Jackson, a long-time offensive coach in the National Football League before taking over the Browns’ top job in January of 2016, Kizer “absolutely” understands what is expected of him as the regular season approaches.
“He has the right feel, he has the right temperament and when he comes over, the conversations we have are the kind of conversations you want to have with your quarterback,” Jackson said. “We are able to go back through the last series and look at the pictures and talk through coverages.
“It is not like he doesn’t understand or that he is lost. He gets it. Sometimes, he is able to tell me before I can even get it out. ‘I should have seen this,’ or ‘I thought this was this way.’ You want to have those kinds of conversations with your quarterback.”
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