CLEVELAND - In football, much like in life, timing is everything. Which is why even though it may not be ideal, the Cleveland Browns should name DeShone Kizer their starting quarterback.
No, not permanently -- at least not yet -- even after Kizer's impressive 11-for-18, 184-yard, 1-touchdown performance in the Browns' preseason opening 20-14 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday. Sure, Kizer looked the best of the three Cleveland quarterbacks to play against the Saints, but a second-half effort against a defense full of second and third-stringers is hardly enough to merit a regular season starting nod just yet.
Rather, what the Browns and head coach Hue Jackson need is a longer look at their second-round rookie, preferably alongside Cleveland's first-team offense. Ideally, that opportunity would come in the Browns' third preseason game -- which typically doubles as a "dress rehearsal" -- but this is where the timing of Cleveland's current predicament gets complicated.
After opening their preseason on Thursday, the Browns won't play their second exhibition until Aug. 21. That will kick off the start of what will be three preseason games in 11 days for Cleveland, which will take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Aug. 26 and the Chicago Bears on Aug. 31 before its regular season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 10.
That means if the Browns don't start Kizer next Monday night against the Giants, their only other option for doing so this preseason would be on a five-day turnaround against either the Buccaneers or Bears. That's hardly an ideal situation for a rookie quarterback -- even one who outplayed Brock Osweiler and Cody Kessler in the team's preseason opener.
It was only one game, but it'd be tough to argue Kizer didn't gain around -- if not surpass -- his Cleveland quarterback counterparts on Thursday.
At the very least, that should have earned him an extended look in a starting role by the end of the offseason. And based on the schedule, there's no better time for the Browns to do it than in their very next game.
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