The news hit the wire earlier this week that the Cleveland Browns have finally settled in on a starting quarterback for the upcoming season, and they’ve decided to throw caution to the wind.
After dealing for Brock Osweiler and for some reason deciding to keep him, the Browns let preseason be a true QB competition, with the rookie DeShone Kizer competing with Brock, and young QBs Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan. And the results surprised many.
There should be zero doubt that DeShone Kizer is far and away the best quarterback on the Cleveland Browns.
— Derrik Klassen (@QBKlass) August 27, 2017
The Browns have opted to go with Kizer as their week one starter, and from the sounds of head coach Hue Jackson, it sounds like they may be the permanent answer.
Hue Jackson said: “I’m going to ride this out with DeShone — the good the bad and the whatever comes.” So it sounds like Cleveland may have their starter for the rest of the season, barring anything bad. And don’t think “bad” means record, because even Browns brass has signaled that they anticipate more growing pains and some bad nights.
Reading twitter while watching Kizer. I feel like we’re all drinking from a spring after searching for water for 20 years.
— Ken Carman (@KenCarman) August 27, 2017
But don’t think this means another lost season, either. That’s what makes the pick of Kizer especially confusing. In exit interviews this past season, the Browns signaled their desire to start the winning. Jackson himself said that he felt the pressure to win something, with the “official” rebuild now stretching into five seasons, with the unofficial one lasting from almost a decade.
Things have been bad for a long time in Cleveland, and they do expect to start seeing something soon. Myles Garrett and Jabrill Peppers have brought excitement, and even moves made on younger players are showing some purpose.
This will be the DeShone Kizer experience this year. A lot of ups and downs — wow throws and head scratchers. It’s what you sign up for.
— Dan Labbe (@dan_labbe) August 27, 2017
But with the move on Kizer, the Browns are doubling down on yet another young face in a wild situation. Take today: just a day after announcing Kizer the starter, the Browns traded one of his starting linemen, Cameron Erving, for a pick from the Seahawks. Joe Haden got cut too, and things are again looking like a rebuild.
So to throw Kizer into this, a rookie QB who’s trying to shake the rust off himself after a rough senior campaign at Notre Dame last year, is puzzling. On one hand, it gives Kizer a trial by fire campaign. He’ll get his chance to prove he belongs with other QBs in the league.
Kizer 6-18, 93 yards, INT & 28.2 rating but numbers don’t tell whole story; 0 sacks, some nice throws. Definitely looked like he belonged
— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) August 27, 2017
It’s no doubt impressive, as Kizer is the first rookie in his class to get a starting nod, going ahead of Chicago’s Trubisky and Houston’s Watson. But that could be a sign of the Browns desperation.
Kizer has all the tools that a QB needs. Before Notre Dame’s awful season last year, he was the projected number one overall pick for last year’s draft. But after injury concerns and some erratic play, the Fighting Irish fell down to 4-8 and questions bloomed about Kizer’s leadership and consistency.
Kizer showing off his arm and feet tonight. But also showing rookie eyes, locking onto targets. That’s why you start him, work through it.
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) August 27, 2017
Now, Kizer has taken on new lease on life. Jackson says he’s a leader in the locker room, and it shows with praise from teammates. The Browns coaching staff says Kizer is their best option to win, and there’s a hope amongst teammates that they are right.
As the Browns enter in to another season of low expectations, they had better be right. No one expects Cleveland to be a playoff team, but they have to show some growth. Kizer is their attempt at doing that, with he and a young group of players like Isaiah Crowell and Corey Coleman on offense and a fresh defense to start winning.
DeShone Kizer is QB1. pic.twitter.com/JOibbrF7im
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) August 27, 2017
Kizer is a work in progress. But maybe that’s how he matches this team so well.