BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – A week ago Joe Thomas said that he didn’t feel DeShone Kizer would be ready to start the season.
Kizer will start Saturday night at Tampa Bay and barring a disastrous performance of epic proportions from the rookie, he’ll start Sept. 10 against the Steelers too.
“Everyone always asks me about quarterbacks,” Thomas said Thursday. “I always say I don’t really know anything about quarterback, and I proved it in this case. So I’m sure he’ll get a laugh out of that maybe.”
Thomas didn’t back down from his point that starting at any position – and especially quarterback – in the NFL as a rookie is extremely difficult. However, he also expressed faith that head coach Hue Jackson knows what he is doing in putting Kizer out there so quickly.
“We’ve got the right man for the job. You look at what Hue Jackson has done with young and rookie quarterbacks in his career, he’s just the man to do it,” Thomas said. “So if ever there was a great team of rookie quarterback and coach, it’d be DeShone and Hue.”
On Wednesday Kizer said that he took no offense to Thomas’ comments last week, in fact he respected them. He also said that his goal is to be the last quarterback Thomas will have to block for.
“I’ve seen nothing but positives from DeShone,” Thomas said. “It’s exciting to play with somebody that has that much passion for the game but also this team. He’s an Ohio kid, and I think he understands what’s happened here and he understands where he wants to take this team.”
Even though Thomas hasn’t practiced much during camp, he has seen first hand the work that Kizer has put in behind the scenes over the last 4 weeks to prepare himself which has earned his respect of the rookie.
“I think DeShone really embodies what a professional is, even as a rookie,” Thomas said. “He understands how to work, how to study the game. He understands the commitment it takes to be a starting quarterback.”
Kizer will be the 19th different starting quarterback – and 24th overall – since 2007 that Thomas will block for when the regular season rolls around. And while he may prove himself to not be an expert on QBs with his predictions, Thomas can tell who does and doesn’t have it when he’s in the huddle with them.
When you watch Kizer on the field, his 6-foot-4, 233 pound frame is hard to miss. Then there is his arm. The ball explodes out of his hand.
The raw talent is there in Thomas’ view, it just needs harnessed.
“You see the physical skills, obviously, and it’s fun watching him improve and the way he grows from practice to practice,” Thomas said. “I can only imagine what it’s going to be like once he’s out there with the ones, getting those game reps and the improvement he’ll make now that Hue’s kind of zeroing in on him as potentially the starter for this season.
“Now that he’s kind of named DeShone that guy, I think you’re going to see DeShone’s growth even exponentially increase.”