BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Rome wasn’t built in a day and franchise quarterbacks aren’t made overnight.
Or in 2 weeks.
Browns head coach Hue Jackson took time to remind everyone of that Thursday while preaching patience with the development of DeShone Kizer, who struggled in his second NFL start – a 24-10 loss at Baltimore that saw him throw 3 interceptions and be strip-sacked.
“Guys, every young quarterback goes through what he is going through,” Jackson said. “We want this guy to be our franchise quarterback. I stand behind this guy wholeheartedly. He is going to get better. This guy has played two games in the National Football League and we are already trying to compare what he does, or we act like he should be playing like Brett Favre or something. That is not going to happen.
“He is going to continue to get better each and every week. There are going to be dips sometimes, there is going to be a big high sometimes. I need to get him to play consistently over a period of time so our football team and our offense can play consistently.”
Jackson knows how difficult it is to groom a young quarterback on the job. He did it with Joe Flacco in Baltimore and Andy Dalton in Cincinnati.
Now he’s trying to do it in Cleveland with Kizer.
“I think this guy has what it takes,” Jackson said. “He is growing every day. He grew even through the negative last week. It’s not fun, but he is learning. He is learning that you guys are going to crucify him when things aren’t going well and he understands you guys are going to praise him when things do go well. That is part of it. That is part of this process for him, and he has to go through it. Do I like going through it? No. But I also like having a quarterback that we all feel comfortable with that potentially could be the guy for years to come in this organization.
“I think it is a process. Nobody likes to hear that word, but that is truth. That’s what it is.”
Kizer completed just 15 of 31 attempts for 182 yards and finished the game with a 27.3 rating in the loss at Baltimore.
Sunday’s game was a reality check following a strong debut in Week 1 against the Steelers in which he threw for 222 yards with a touchdown, interception and 85.7 rating while rushing for another score.
His third test awaits Sunday in Indianapolis.
“Let’s be honest, let’s think about where this young man has come from and what he is doing. He is playing with a bunch of men. He’s young. He’s 21 years old. He is leading an organization that hasn’t been what it needs to be. He’s surrounded by a ton of guys who, we haven’t won a ton of games, and he’s trying to uplift everything,” Jackson said. “There is a lot of pressure. Let’s just be honest, it is. He is trying to play at a peak level. He is trying to learn this offense, learn the language, adjust to some of the better defenses in the National Football League in the last two weeks, and then score points and throw the ball to guys that he hasn’t thrown the ball to every day. That is hard.
“You can say what you want, that is hard. That is not an excuse. That is a fact.”
The Browns’ quarterback body count is now at 27 – Kizer is now the ninth rookie to be thrown into the fire.
Jackson believes that Kizer will become what the Browns have been searching 18 agonizing years for. While that’s the goal, a lot has to happen before that is realized but Jackson clearly made it a point to try and bring lofty and unrealistic expectations down to earth while also trying to take some pressure off of Kizer’s shoulders.
“That is the way it goes. This is the National Football League. It is what you signed up for. You have to get it done. That is the challenge,” Jackson said he stresses to Kizer. “We will get through it, and I think he is handling it extremely well. He doesn’t run from the mistakes, he doesn’t run from the things he needs to do better. None of us do, but again, we understand that we all want results. That is what this business is. It’s a results business.”
As long as Jackson is here, Kizer will get plenty of opportunities in the coming weeks, months and years to deliver those results in the hopes he turns into those 2 magical words: franchise quarterback.