CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – DeShone Kizer will be the Browns’ starting quarterback in 2017.
They hope he’ll keep the job for years to come.
The move to start the rookie from Notre Dame, which came as little surprise, was announced by head coach Hue Jackson on a conference call with reporters Sunday afternoon.
“DeShone is our starting quarterback,” Jackson said. “He’s earned the right to play through his preparation. He’s established a work ethic that I think has earned the respect of his teammates.”
In 14 offensive series over 3 preseason games Kizer accounted for 5 scoring drives – 3 touchdown and 2 field goal – and he’s completed 25 of 49 passes for 351 yards and a touchdown with an interception. He added 47 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown, on 8 carries and been sacked 5 times.
Kizer was selected in the second round – No. 52 overall – in April’s draft and he becomes just the second rookie to open the season as the Browns’ top QB, joining Brandon Weeden in 2012, since 1999.
Kizer will become the 27th quarterback to start a game for the Browns since 1999 and he’ll also be the 15th different opening day starter since then, a vicious cycle that Jackson and the Browns hope will now come to an end.
“When we drafted this young man, there was a purpose in drafting him. We thought that he had exactly what we were looking for,” Jackson said. “He has the talent, he has the makeup and he has the things we are looking for. Now, we just have to go get him and push him onto that next level.”
In Jackson’s first year in Cleveland that saw the Browns go 1-15, he started 3 quarterbacks and needed 6 players to get through the season because of injuries.
Jackson pledged that the team is fully behind Kizer and plans to see the growing pains that come with a rookie through.
“This is not just for the moment,” Jackson said. “We’re going to get with DeShone and ride him through it all. We’ll get through all this.
“We are not going to blink about it.”
Kizer began camp as the No. 3 quarterback behind Cody Kessler and Brock Osweiler but ascended up the depth chart thanks in part to the ineffectiveness of both during camp and the first 2 preseason games.
“It’s been good to watch his development throughout the offseason,” Jackson said. “Obviously, he’s a young quarterback, and he still has a lot to learn. He’s going to learn a lot and gain a lot of experience, and the only way you get that is by playing.”