CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Head coach Hue Jackson will not make a starting quarterback change for this week’s game in Chicago.
Jackson said Sunday, following their 27-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens that saw DeShone Kizer turn it over 3 more times, he would “watch the tape” and make a determination whether or not he’d stick with the rookie.
On Monday, Jackson is satisfied that Kizer will be ready.
“I wanted to take a peek at the tape to determine where he is and make sure I had a chance to see him and talk to him to see where his head was and make sure he is ready to go,” Jackson said Monday. “If he wasn’t up to the challenge, then if I needed to make a change, then I would. I think he is up to the challenge. He has some improving to do. He has some work to do this week to continue to get better, but he is going to start at quarterback for us.”
Kizer threw 2 more interceptions, raising his league-leading total to 19 on Sunday and he was strip-sacked in the endzone, which resulted in a Ravens touchdown. Kizer’s 26 turnovers are an NFL-worst as is his completion percentage and quarterback rating.
“This is a decision that I think is best for our football team at this time,” Jackson said. “I think DeShone’s psyche, as you guys are saying, if I felt like he was not ready to play, I am not going to stick a young man back out there if he is not going to be ready and prepared.”
“I hate to say it this way but it is true – we have seen a pendulum swing like this with DeShone. This week it did not go so well. The next week he plays well. This week he does not go as well. The next week he plays well. Hopefully, that cycle holds true and this week he comes back, gets himself ready and he goes out there and plays his tail off.”
According to ProFootballFocus.com, Kizer leads all quarterbacks in red-zone turnover percentage, giving the ball away on 9.5 percent of his red-zone plays. The NFL average is just 1.3 percent.
Great Expectations – Receiver Josh Gordon caught 5 of 11 targets for 47 yards on Sunday but his body language did not look good and reminded many of late in the 2014 season when his effort came into question.
Jackson disagreed with the notion that Gordon didn’t run crisp routes or looked aloof and disengaged at times on the sideline.
“I would challenge anybody to watch the tape,” Jackson said. “Josh is hustling as well as I have seen any of our receivers hustle when Crow [Isaiah Crowell] breaks off that big 59-yard run. He is out in front blocking down the field and celebrating. On the touchdown to Duke [Johnson Jr.], he was one of the catalysts for the touchdown. He ran the corner through the back of the end zone so the guy could not come off and make the play.”
In 3 games since returning from a lengthy suspension for multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy that spanned 1,077 days, Gordon has 12 catches for 201 yards.
“I just think when these young men come back like he has, he is very talented, and I think everyone [publicly] expects him to play at a Pro Bowl level from Day 1 and that he would be the big catalyst to get this team over the top,” Jackson said. “I think he is getting better by the week. He has to continue to adjust and play pro football at this level again. I think he has hit the ground running.
“He is still finding some new things in our system and how to do things differently, but I have not seen Josh Gordon have any problem on the field from a competing, hustling, doing what we need him to do standpoint.”
Bengals Rumors – Jackson was asked again on Monday about reports that Marvin Lewis would leave the Bengals after this season, and if they were too premature after Lewis publicly denied them.
“I don’t know. I don’t spend my time concerning myself with the Bengals that way,” Jackson said. “I think Marvin is going to obviously deal with the media and come out and say what he needs to say about his football team. I wish Marvin the best in that situation, and whatever they decide to do, they will do, but I’m trying to make sure there isn’t a parade going on here pretty soon. That is where my focus has been.”
Jackson, who said Sunday he is committed to turning the Browns around, has been rumored for the last 2 years to be a potential replacement for Lewis in Cincinnati.
Injury Report – Safety Derrick Kindred suffered a wrist injury and “may miss some time” according to Jackson.