CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson is doing what he can to get the team their first win of the 2017 season, and that has meant making changes at quarterback during or prior to each of the last three games.
And those questioning Jackson’s decisions to bench, and then, reinsert rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer into the lineup will not cause him to lose focus in leading a team that is 1-22 overall with losing streaks of 15 and eight games to their credit over the last two seasons heading into Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings at Twickenham Stadium in London.
“I am very honest with DeShone,” Jackson said. “This is a performance-based business, and there are some things that, at the quarterback position, are kind of non-negotiable for me. He knows turning the ball over is something that we can’t do.
“It hurts not just him; it hurts our football team. I think he gets it. I don’t think he is going to go play this game worried about ‘Am I turning it over or not?’ I don’t think he has that personality or else I would not put him in that predicament. I think he understands he needs to play better that way and be ball protecting.”
Kizer started the first five games of the season for the Browns, but was pulled from a 17-14 loss to the New York Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium after struggling through a turnover-plagued first-half and remained on the sideline for the entirety of a 33-17 loss to the Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston.
Kizer was reinserted into the starting lineup against the Tennessee Titans last Sunday, but was again taken out of the lineup midway through the 12-9 loss.
Kizer completed 12 of his 20 attempts for 114 yards against the Titans, but threw two more interceptions and has a league-high 11 passing turnovers in just six starts this season.
“He has a job,” Jackson said. “His job is to help this football team win. If you are doing things that don’t allow us to win, then it is my job to make a decision to help, whether that is to sit you down and put somebody else in or stick with you because I understand certain things that happen and there will be certain things that happen from an interception standpoint that is not his fault.”
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 is not just developing the quarterback,” Jackson said. “That is a big piece of it, but we are also trying to win. That all goes into the thought process as we go through it, but do I want DeShone to get better? Yes.
“I hope to see a better DeShone this weekend, but also, I want to win the football game. We are trying to do both, and sometimes, those things clash. When they do, we will make the decision that we think is best for our football team and go from there.”
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