CLEVELAND -- Whether it be because of injuries or ineffectiveness, a backup quarterback in the National Football League is always just one play away from taking over the offense and being tasked with leading the team down the field and into the end zone.
As such, the backup must always be on the ready, and that is exactly what Kevin Hogan was for the Cleveland Browns (0-5), as he engineered two touchdown drives in the second half of Sunday’s 17-14 loss to the New York Jets (3-2) at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“Being the backup, you have to learn to not be surprised because you can go in at any point,” Hogan said. “Injuries can happen. A bunch of different things can happen. You have just got to be ready to go in.
“I kind of am staying ready at all times and not letting a surprise happen. When they said that I was going in, I was making sure that I knew what was going on defensively for the Jets and what they are doing, staying up to date with it. Just making sure that I was ready to go in.”
In relief of Kizer, who completed just eight of his 17 throws for 87 yards with one interception and one lost fumble, Hogan connected on 16 of his 19 attempts for 194 yards with two touchdowns and one interception on a deflection.
Hogan finished the game with a 122.4 quarterback rating. Kizer posted a 38.1 rating.
“I just wanted to make sure I was ready, make sure I was prepared this whole week leading up,” Hogan said. “As I do each week, making sure I stay loose on the sidelines. Sometimes, that is difficult. Just wanted to come out and execute, get the ball out of my hands and into the playmakers’ hands.”
Out of the halftime break, Hogan promptly engineered a 10-play, 75-yard drive and capped off the possession with a 21-yard touchdown pass to rookie tight end David Njoku, which gave the Browns a 7-3 lead with 9:19 to play in the quarter.
Hogan’s touchdown pass gave the Browns their first lead of the season.
On the Browns’ last offensive drive of the game, Hogan swung a screen pass to running back Duke Johnson on the left side of the formation, and he high-stepped, hustled, spun and sprinted his way into the end zone from 41 yards out.
“Just taking what the defense gives me,” Hogan said. “I felt like I saw what they were doing. Not to try to force things, but if it is there, take it. If not, check the ball down or take off and run. I learned when I went in in Baltimore, outside of the pocket, I have got to be smart with it.”
As for whether he will start this week at the Houston Texans, Hogan is keeping his focus on the preparation rather than a decision out of his hands.
“Right now, I am just doing what I can to get better and help this team get a win,” Hogan said. “I am not worrying about that. This whole season, I have only focused on what I can control. I think that I would do the team a disservice if I were worrying about outside things. My goal leading up to this week is just going to be the same routine, making sure I get my preparation in and do what I am supposed to do to do my job for these guys.”
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