CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Hue Jackson finds himself back at square one.
DeShone Kizer just made this a real quarterback competition and his decision of what to do next a difficult one.
After completing 11 of 18 passes for 184 yards and a touchdown with a rating of 114.1 in the second half of Thursday night’s 20-14 win over the Saints in the preseason opener, everyone is talking about whether or not Jackson will move the rookie up the depth chart.
Including his own front office.
“Everybody’s asking that question about quarterback and where we are,” Jackson said Friday afternoon on a conference call. “I don’t think you do things out of a knee-jerk reaction. You just don’t make decisions to make them. You kind of let things play themselves out, and they will.
“If a guy is good enough and deserving of an opportunity, trust me, we are not in a position to where we wouldn’t give the best player an opportunity.”
Jackson chose his words carefully during the call when pressed about the impending decision as to who he will start Aug. 21 against the New York Giants because he plans to think about his next move just as carefully.
“I think it’s still too soon for me to make a decision about the quarterback rotation,” Jackson said.
There is a chance that Kizer could simply be elevated to the No. 2 role instead of starting.
“I am going to think through all of those scenarios,” Jackson said. “All of those things are on the table. Nothing is off the table. We will really look through this and see where we are, but I think right now I am [not] really in a position to say where I am because I don’t want to lead you guys into thinking that I am thinking one thing when maybe I am thinking another.”
It took until the fourth offensive series for Brock Osweiler, who was named the starter on Monday, to get a first down and he finished the night 6 of 124 for 42 yards and a quarterback rating of 50.3.
A couple overthrows on balls down the field to Ricardo Louis and tight end Seth DeValve were hard to miss but Jackson felt there was plenty of blame to go around for the lackluster performance from Osweiler.
“I think there are throws he could have made. I think he will be the first to tell you that. I think there are some where our receivers could have gotten open a little bit better,” Jackson said. “It is a combination of them both. It is not just one area, but it is a unit issue as an offensive football team. We had some chances. We didn’t take advantage of them, and we have to continue to do those better.”
Jackson conceded that Kizer took a step Thursday night but it was hardly a flawless performance by the 52nd overall pick in the draft who completed passes of 52 and 45 yards. The second throw went for the game-winning touchdown while the 52-yarder set up an earlier TD.
“There’s a process to all of this and I think we’re just in the beginning phases of it, for him, and you want to do what’s best for your team and your players,” Jackson said. “It’s not just because people see a bomb that’s thrown down the field for 45 yards. There’s more to playing quarterback than just that.”
While Jackson liked how Kizer stood in the pocket, showed poise and threw the ball down the field Thursday night, he would like to see Kizer improve calling plays in the huddle as well as with his execution at the line of scrimmage.
“If a guy is unsure of a progression or a guy is unsure of a coverage – he didn’t see the rotation of a safety or didn’t see the rotation of a linebacker soon enough so all of the sudden you don’t make the decision when it needs to happen and you are now searching – you end up holding onto the ball a little bit,” Jackson explained. “He did do that a couple of times.”
But it’s all part of the learning process for Kizer and Jackson wants to make sure he doesn’t bring him along too quickly.
But Kizer proved in the time between the scrimmage and preseason opener that he’s ready for the next step.