BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – DeShone Kizer isn’t discouraged or angry that the Browns tried to acquire quarterback AJ McCarron last week from Cincinnati.
Instead of being worried about the failed attempt to land McCarron and what is says about his future with the team, Kizer looks at the situation differently.
“It is part of this business,” Kizer said Wednesday. “I think that has absolutely nothing to do with my development and where this team stands. It is just another way of letting me know that I need to step my game up, knowing that I have another opportunity this week to be the starting quarterback here. I look forward to going out and proving myself.”
Kizer has struggled in 7 starts for the Browns this season that has seen him complete just 52.1 percent of his passes for 1,144 yards with 11 interceptions and just 3 touchdowns but he refuses to look over his shoulder.
“There is no reason, for one. He is not here,” Kizer said. “I’m the starting quarterback this week, and I’m looking forward to continuing to grow, develop and become a better quarterback each time I step out on the field.”
Kizer, selected 52nd overall in the second round of the draft out of Notre Dame, said he didn’t know much about the potential trade because he doesn’t have Twitter – which he does and posted last on Nov. 6 – which is why he doesn’t plan to use it as any additional motivation.
“I have 10,000 reasons to be motivated to go out and play better,” Kizer said. “Two being the two times I’ve been benched. Once again, I have been getting better each week, and I look forward to coming out here after a nice bye week and preparing myself to go out there and have my best game yet.”
Head coach Hue Jackson did talk to Kizer about the botched deal and is confident there aren’t any underlying problems that he needs to worry about as a result of it.
“I am always very honest with our players,” Jackson said. “I don’t sugarcoat anything. At the end of the day, the most important thing is nothing changed so here we go. You go back and you play and you can’t worry about those things. I don’t want players worried about those things anyways. You shouldn’t be. You have a job to do and that is all you can control. You have to let everything else take care of itself.”
Time To Grow Up – Over the final 8 weeks of the season the young Browns definitely need to do 1 thing besides win: grow up.
The poster-child for that – fairly or unfairly – is receiver Corey Coleman, who is eligible to come off of IR and play next week at home against Jacksonville. Coleman returned to practice Monday where he participated in individual and positional drills catching footballs. He did so again Wednesday.
“I’m excited. I haven’t been on the field in a while,” Coleman said.
Coleman was sent home for missing curfew in Houston along with fellow receiver Kenny Britt on Oct. 15. Jackson refused to single Coleman out specifically even though he was asked if the second-year receiver from Baylor needed to grow up.
“We have a lot of young guys that have to continue to grow up and become players in the National Football league and understand that this is professional football, that you have to be professional at all times,” Jackson said. “That is what it means and that you handle your affairs on the field and off the field the same way with class and the way the organization wants you to do it.
“That is part of my job is to teach that because there are so many young guys and our coaches’ jobs and our organization’s job. I think we are doing that. Knock on wood, we haven’t had a ton of problems that way because I don’t like dealing with them. Our players know that. We are not going to deal with them. If we do, we will deal with them swiftly and get it behind us.”
The Browns receiving corps has struggled mightily while the 15th pick in the 2016 draft has been sidelined with a broken bone in his right hand. A total of 7 players have combined to catch 65 passes for 783 yards and a touchdown.
“It is tough, but one of my jobs – I look at myself as a leader – is keeping the guys going and keep them confident,” Coleman said. “I felt like I had done a good job and I’m proud of the guys who stepped in and are giving it their all and trying to make a big impact to help us win.”
The Browns will need Coleman and others to the youngest team in the league to mature quickly to turn things around.
Coach Thomas – Joe Thomas, who is out for the season following surgery to repair a torn triceps tendon, was back on the field Wednesday – as a coach working with Cleveland’s offensive linemen during practice.
“He is a mentor to a lot of these guys in a lot of different ways,” Jackson said. “Having him out there and having him be involved is huge. As I asked him earlier in the week, I wanted to make sure he is traveling with us, going on the road and being part of this because this is still his team. Having him around and having him want to be a part of that is very important to me, to our players, to our staff and to all involved.”
Devoid of much veteran leadership within the locker room, Jackson has asked Thomas to be around the team as much as possible.
“He is invited to anything we have,” Jackson said. “He can run the meeting if he wants. As long as you give him the right information, we are all good.”
Roster Move – The Browns claimed linebacker Josh Keyes off of waivers from the CHargers and waived linebacker Deon King to make room.
Keyes, who is listed at 6-2 and 230 pounds out of Boston College, was originally signed as an undrafted free agent in 2015 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In 3 seasons Keyes has totaled 5 tackles and 5 special teams tackles in 14 games. He appeared in two games with the Chargers this season.
Injury Report – LIMITED: WR Kenny Britt (knee), CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun (hamstring), DL Trevon Coley (neck), S Ibraheim Campbell (hamstring), CB Jason McCourty (ankle), Larry Ogunjobi (groin), S Jabrill Peppers (toe); FULL: LB Jamie Collins (shoulder), CB Jamar Taylor (ribs).