BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Buckle up Browns fans.
There will be growing pains with DeShone Kizer in his rookie season, and head coach Hue Jackson knows it.
“We are going to work through this because I think he is talented,” Jackson said. “I think this guy has the right stuff and I think if I am worth my salt as a coach, I will get it out of him, and if I think if he is willing to do the work he will rise to the occasion and I think he will.”
An argument can be made that Kizer will only be as good as his supporting cast this coming season but through 3 preseason games the returns aren’t great, especially at wide receiver. Only 3 receivers have caught 5 or more passes this preseason – Corey Coleman (8 for 106), Rannell Hall (6 for 76) and Jordan Leslie (6 for 43 and a touchdown).
“Whoever is out here, one, we have to coach them and our quarterbacks have to throw it to them,” Jackson said. “Whoever is here, we are going to continue to work with them, keep getting better and get the rhythm and timing of our passing game better. That is just what we have to do.”
Coleman, who enters his second NFL season after being picked 15th overall in 2016, has been a bright spot – especially Saturday night when he caught 4 passes for 66 yards. Three of them came on third down and moved the chains.
“I’m getting back in the groove, feeling comfortable out there and we just need to continue to get better,” Coleman said Monday.
Privately Jackson and the front office recognize the lack of depth and experience at the position but the hope is that they will find help through a trade or the waiver wire next weekend when teams cut from 90 to 53. Also with the emphasis on playing young players, the team isn’t giving up on 2016 picks Ricardo Louis, Rashard Higgins and Jordan Payton just yet.
Playing Time TBD – Jackson has not decided who will play or for how long – or if he has he’s keeping it quiet – in the preseason finale at Chicago.
“I will let you guys know, and I will let our team know at some point in time,” Jackson said. “I am sure all of the players want to know, but mum is the word. I told them we are going to practice. That is what we have to do to continue to get better.”
Jackson stressed that playing younger players in the second half of preseason games should not be viewed as punishment or an indictment of their ability.
“Guys need to play,” Jackson said. “We are a really young football team. I think you guys all know that. Just because they are out there doesn’t mean that someone is mad at them or they have done something wrong. Some guys just need more seasoning. They need to play as much football as they can to get better and to get ready for the regular season because some of these guys will be playing a lot of football. That is all that is.”
That’s Not Danny – Linebacker Christian Kirksey caught a few looks when he wore defensive tackle Danny Shelton’s No. 55 jersey during the portion of practice open to reporters. Shelton continues to recover from a knee injury and Jackson remains optimistic that he’ll be ready for the opener.
“I think really good, but you are going to have to ask somebody,” Jackson said. “Every time I say that, something falls off the wagon. No, I think those guys are on schedule. I feel good about those guys. We will see, but that is the hope.”
Injury Report – WR Kenny Britt, DB Ed Reynolds, DT Danny Shelton, LT Joe Thomas, OL Cam Erving, LG Joel Bitonio and LB Xavier Cooper worked on the side. FB Danny Vitale (ankle) and DE Nate Orchard (groin) did not practice and DE Cam Johnson (knee) returned to practice Monday.