BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – DeShone Kizer doesn’t need to be told how critical the final 4 weeks of the regular season are for him.
He knows the Browns’ record, his stats and that neither are good enough.
“As a quarterback, it is almost unacceptable to be at about a 50 percent completion rating,” Kizer said Wednesday. “There are too many guys who are talented out there and there is too much time and effort that we put into the week for us to not go out there and complete at least 60 percent of passes.”
Despite entering the season preaching an emphasis on the run game, head coach Hue Jackson has been having Kizer sling it this season. Cleveland has the fifth most passing attempts in 2017 with 443. New England is sixth with 441. The top 4: San Francisco 468, Arizona 462, Tampa Bay 454 and Seattle 444.
Jackson wants to see Kizer complete closer to 65 percent of his attempts, which means he needs a 12 percent bump to get there.
“That is what we shoot for because we need to complete more balls. We just do,” Jackson said. “That is imperative for us to score more points. We have to complete more balls. Guys have to have more opportunities with the ball in their hands. If we do that, then I think that things happen.”
Having a 21-year-old QB throw it all over the yard week in and week out doesn’t exactly sound like a plan for success, but Kizer also understands the situation they’re regularly in, which hasn’t been a good one.
“For one, we are down in the second half unfortunately. You have to throw to get out of those situations. You have to score fast back there so a lot of those passes are going to be leaning towards the second half,” Kizer said. “Two, I think that although our running game isn’t where we want it to be, it has the respect of one of the better run games in this league. When you have the offensive line that we have and Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell in the backfield, people are still going to throw extra guys in the box no matter how much we put on tape that we are a good running team.
“Once again, it is about taking what the defense gives you. It seems as if in the last probably six or seven weeks, defenses want to play single-high and put a guy in the box, and it is time to throw the football.”
Kizer has completed just 181 of 345 passes – or 52.5 percent, a number he realizes he needs to increase – and quickly. But, in his view, there have also been mitigating circumstances – 17 different players have caught a pass this season and 9 of them are actually receivers.
“One of the common themes has been that we have been mixing and matching every week,” Kizer said. “To find some consistency now with a core group of really good receivers who are all playmakers, we will be able to maximize that as much as we can these last four weeks. Chemistry has been everything and timing has been everything for us.”
So what can Kizer do to bump up his numbers?
“Complete the ball. It goes back to the same thing. Guys have to get open, guys have to catch it when he throws it and he has to put it in the right spot more often than he has,” Jackson said. “That is just what it is. He can do it. I truly believe he can. We can do it as an offensive unit, but we have to make sure that we are playing as well as we have all year because those numbers have been those numbers all year. They have not changed so I am asking for more. I am not asking for less. I want more because I think it is in there and that is what I am demanding.”
Gordon the GOAT – Jackson had some high praise for receiver Josh Gordon Wednesday.
Gordon caught 4 of 11 targets for 85 yards in Sunday’s loss at the LA Chargers and he could’ve easily topped 150 yards and 2 touchdowns with a few more footballs that were thrown to him placed better.
“Physically, he’s as good as anybody I’ve been around,” Jackson said. “He’s very talented. He’s been a pleasure to be around. The sky’s the limit for him.”
Gordon went 1,077 days between regular season games and since he was conditionally reinstated on Nov. 1 by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is showing himself to be by far their best offensive player, and it isn’t even close.
“Obviously Josh has done some really good things here in the past,” Jackson said. “I think he is hopefully back on the track to reclaiming that.”
Collins Surgery – Linebacker Jamie Collins underwent surgery 2 weeks ago to repair his torn left MCL the team confirmed Wednesday after Collins was spotted in the locker room wearing a massive brace on his leg and knee with crutches.
Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery in Florida and Collins is expected to make a full recovery.
“It was expected. I don’t think there is anything hidden in that,” Jackson said. “I think Jamie’s recovery is going great, and he is doing well.”
Collins suffered the injury while trying to return an interception in the first half of a 38-24 loss Nov. 12 at Detroit.
Collins, who finished the season with 31 tackles, a sack, forced fumble and had an interception in 6 games this season, signed a $50 million contract extension in January.
Injury Report – DNP CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun (knee), S Jabrill Peppers (ankle), DT Danny Shelton (chest/ribs); LIMITED: WR Kenny Britt (knee), WR Sammie Coates (knee/ankle), DL Tyrone Holmes (knee); FULL: RT Shon Coleman (thumb), TE David Njoku (wrist).