CLEVELAND -- From the 2016 collegiate season at the University of Notre Dame to the pre-draft workouts and meetings to the NFL Draft itself, rookie minicamp, training camp and making 15 regular-season starts, it is fair to say that Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer has had a busy 18 months.
And yet, despite getting a break with the onset of the offseason, Kizer is not going to spend much time resting, not with improvements to be made.
“I think fundamentally, I just need to make sure that my footwork is as crisp as it possibly could become, my balance is on and I'm throwing the ball more accurately,” Kizer said in his exit interview with the media.
“It is something that every quarterback probably focuses on in the offseason, I believe, but it is definitely going to be a big emphasis for me to make sure that when I come back that I have the timing and precision to be the best quarterback I can be.”
In his first 15 NFL starts, Kizer completed 255 of 476 attempts (53.6 percent) for 2,894 yards with 11 touchdowns against a league-worst 22 interceptions. Despite taking 38 sacks for 226 lost yards and posting a 60.5 quarterback rating, Kizer rushed for 419 yards, 28 first downs and five touchdowns.
“There is so much that I have learned in this year,” Kizer said. “Whether we went 16-0 or 0-16, this was a year of learning, a year that I'm going to be able to build off of, and hopefully, set as my foundation as a professional quarterback.
“I really, obviously, didn't want to go through some of the things we went through this year, would love to have won for my team and reward some of the guys who have been in this league for a long time, but this is the situation we are in and we have to do our best to maximize it.”
Despite the challenges that came with the 0-15 record he posted in 2017, Kizer said his confidence is “better than I anticipated,” and is expecting that mindset to serve him well during the offseason, especially if the Browns select a quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft.
“This has been a great learning experience, and I was blessed enough to have a support team who kept continuously reminding me of what this season is and how small of a piece of my career it is going to be,” Kizer said.
“It is just about doing whatever we can to maximize it and taking these lessons for what they are and learning from them. Mentally, I'm good. My confidence is here. It is about going into this offseason, continuing to build my craft and becoming the best quarterback that I can become.
“I know that when I'm at my best and I'm as confident as I can possibly be and when I'm comfortable doing my job no matter what it is, typically, I find success. I think this year was a year that has allowed me to learn a lot about myself to continue to build that confidence and continue to remain comfortable in the position that I'm in so that I can go out and succeed for as long as I possibly can.”