One week after benching rookie second-round pick DeShone Kizer and installing second-year quarterback Kevin Hogan as his team’s starter, Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson has reinstated Kizer as QB1.
Hogan, a fifth-round pick last year who got the chance to start after playing well in the second half against the New York Jets in Week 5, got his first career start against the Houston Texans last Sunday. It did not go well: Hogan had three first-half interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. He played better in the fourth quarter, but by then the game was out of reach.
Jackson believes Kizer benefitted from the limited time spent as an observer.
“DeShone learned a lot of things,” Jackson during a Monday conference call. “When you see some of the things that have happened to you in games and you can see it happening with somebody else that hurts your football team, you understand why you don’t (do them).
“The turnovers are putting the team at risk. When there’s a chance, an opportunity to score points and here comes a turnover coming the other way, it doesn’t give your offensive football team the best opportunity to have success.”
Speaking with reporters on Wednesday morning, Kizer said he knew there would be another chance for him to play this season, and acknowledged that it’s on him to make sure the question of him being benched never comes up again, and that he believes he has “the most difficult job on Earth and the most enjoyable job on Earth.”
Kizer, the 52nd overall pick in this year’s draft, was named the starter after Cleveland’s third preseason game. He played well in the regular-season opener, against the Pittsburgh Steelers, completing two-thirds of his passes for 222 yards with one throwing touchdown, one rushing touchdown and one interception. The Browns lost by just three points, 21-18, after Kizer led a late touchdown drive and the defense couldn’t make a stop to get the ball back to the offense.
But his play was markedly different in the next four games. Kizer’s completion percentage was under 50 percent in each, and he totaled just two touchdowns and eight interceptions.
“He’ll be a little bit more team-protecting in situational football things,” said Jackson. “He’ll understand that better and really what it does to your team as you’re in those situations. No. 2, I think he’ll demand more from the guys that play around him because I think he understands that every play matters and every play is a difference between having a chance to win or lose a game.”
The Browns host the Tennessee Titans this Sunday.
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