CLEVELAND -- Rookie DeShone Kizer has been named the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns heading into their third preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium Saturday night.
Despite starting training camp as the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart, Kizer patiently approached his work, both on and off the field, and that played to his advantage as he worked his way into the starting role in just four weeks’ time.
Here are three reasons why starting Kizer is the best decision for the 2017 Browns:
POISE UNDER PRESSURE
In his first preseason game, 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 New Orleans Saints.
On Kizer’s first drive of that game, he accounted for 24 yards between his passing and rushing abilities. Kizer 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, Kizer engineered a five-play, 60-yard drive in less than three minutes, and the offense punctuated the possession with a one-yard touchdown carry from running back Terrence Magee.
After a kickoff out of bounds gave the Browns a first and 10 from their own 40-yard line, Kizer tested the Saints deep and completed a 52-yard pass to wide receiver Richard Mullaney that moved the ball from the Cleveland 47-yard line to the New Orleans one.
On the next drive, Kizer threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to second-year wide receiver Jordan Payton and gave the Browns the game-winning six-point margin over the Saints with 1:52 to play in the fourth quarter.
Despite being sacked twice for 22 lost yards, Kizer completed eight of his 13 attempts for 74 yards and rushed for a team-best 35 yards on five carries, including a one-yard touchdown run that put the Browns in front for good in their 10-6 win over the New York Giants on Monday Night Football earlier this week.
The Browns took a 7-3 lead over the Giants when Kizer ran in a sneak for a touchdown from the one-yard line with 1:10 to play in the first half.
Kizer needed just five plays to lead the Browns 28 yards after the defense came up with a turnover.
The Browns extended their lead to 10-3 on a field goal from Zane Gonzalez with 7:23 to play in the third quarter.
Kizer went five for eight for 37 yards on the scoring drive. Additionally, he ran for gains of three and 11 yards, respectively. One of Kizer’s three misses on the drive came when he led rookie tight end David Njoku too much on a seam route up the left side of the formation.
BEST AT THE POSITION
In two preseason games, Kizer has completed 19 of his 31 attempts for 258 yards with one passing touchdown, a rushing score and four drives that ended in points for the Browns, which was starkly different from the other quarterbacks on the roster.
Kizer completed 10 passes for first downs, four 20-yard plays and two 40-yard throws.
After starting training camp behind Cody Kessler on the depth chart, Brock Osweiler was the Browns’ starting quarterback against both the Saints and Giants, and in those outings, he completed only 12 of his 22 pass attempts for 67 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.
Kessler completed 12 of his 17 attempts, but for only 97 yards in two preseason appearances.