BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns elected to make a change at quarterback ahead of the preseason home opener against the New Orleans Saints at FirstEnergy Stadium last Thursday night, selecting veteran Brock Osweiler to start over second-year signal-caller Cody Kessler and rookie DeShone Kizer.
That decision meant Kizer, selected in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft, was leaped over on the depth chart by Osweiler, who had predominantly run with the second and third-team offenses over the first week of camp.
“I think this is just another step in the process of me trying to get better,” Kizer said. “This whole training camp is about me developing and going out and performing when my number’s called. When it comes to Thursday night, it’s been said that I’ll be the third guy to step out there. When I step out, it’s time to perform.
“It’s my job to perform when he calls my number. If it’s with ones, twos, threes, a preseason rep, a training-camp rep, a game rep, whenever my number’s called, I’m going to play.”
And perform Kizer did in the 20-14 win over the New Orleans Saints in front of the home fans at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Kizer played the entire second half and completed 11 of his 18 passes for 184 yards and a 45-yard touchdown in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter on the way to leading the Browns to a 20-14 victory over the Saints.
On Kizer’s first drive of the game, he completed three of his first four passes for 11 yards and rushed for another 13 on two carries, including a long run of seven yards.
Then, on the Browns’ next possession, Kizer engineered a five-play, 60-yard drive in less than three minutes, and the offense punctuated the effort with a one-yard touchdown carry from running back Terrence Magee.
Later in the game, when facing a fourth and two, on New Orleans’ side of the 50-yard line, Kizer dropped back to pass, looked off a defender, waited for wide receiver Jordan Payton to get separation from the cornerback, and then, led his receiver into the end zone with the throw.
“I see a lot of room for improvement, a lot of room to take my game to the next level,” Kizer said. “After watching that, it definitely plays right into where I think I am, and that’s a guy who’s looking to learn as much as I possibly can, a guy who has some consistency things that I need to clean up. There’s still a lot of work for me to do before I become the quarterback that I want to become one day.”
One of the biggest things Kizer plans on working on is accuracy, which has been inconsistent over the first two weeks of training camp.
“This is a process, and that’s a message that’s been continued to be passed to me since the day that I stepped foot here in Berea,” Kizer said. “As long as I continue to try to get better and continue to do the things that coaches lie in front of me, then hopefully, one day, I’ll be able to be at the level that I want to be at.”
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