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5 players who shined in the Browns' season opener

Posted Sep 11, 2017

DeShone Kizer and Derrick Kindred stood out in Sunday's loss to the Steelers

S Derrick Kindred: Kindred was seemingly all over the field in an effort that resulted in Cleveland’s defense holding Pittsburgh to just 290 yards. The second-year safety from TCU had three tackles, a pass breakup and fourth-quarter interception that helped ignite a late comeback.

“That pick felt great. Last year, I wasn’t able to come up with any so it felt great to open up the season with one,” said Kindred, who started five games as a rookie before breaking his ankle. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get the win, but next week we will come out prepared and ready to work hard.”

QB DeShone Kizer: Kizer, who became the first rookie to start at quarterback for the Browns since 2012, passed for 222 yards and a touchdown on 20-of-30 attempts. He also added 17 yards on the ground and another score that capped an impressive 12-play drive midway through the first quarter.  

“I like DeShone. I like the feel of him on the sideline with me. I love our communication. He did some good things,” head coach Hue Jackson said. “There are some opportunities that he’s going to be the first to tell you he wish he had back, that’s going to happen to a young quarterback, but this guy gave us a chance. He put the team in position to give us an opportunity to make something special happen. We didn’t finish it the way we wanted to, but I like the first game with him. His first live, big game, I thought he handled himself extremely well.”

To be certain, Kizer had his share of highs and lows, throwing an untimely interception that ended a promising drive late in the third quarter,

“He knows that is a ball you can’t throw, not in that situation,” Jackson said. “I’m going to continue to coach him through it through every series because I think I have to because him and I are joined by the hip in this thing. I think this guy is going to be a really good player, but he has to keep getting better.”

LB Joe Schobert

Schobert led the Browns with nine tackles in his debut as a starter. The second-year linebacker and former Wisconsin standout put together an impressive preseason en route to earning the team’s starting middle linebacker job last month.

“I think everybody was flying around and having fun, hitting the Steelers, laying some smacks down,” Schobert said after the game. “Obviously, we want to win, but I think there are a lot of positives to take away, especially with the young guys.”

WR Corey Coleman

Jackson said the Browns needed Coleman, the 2016 first-round draft pick, to play well against the Steelers. The second-year receiver caught five passes for 53 yards and a touchdown that cut deficit to three points with under four minutes to play. “The cornerback tried to do his job and not let me score,” Coleman said. “He tried to make a play. I just knew we needed to score.”

CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun

The second-year cornerback made his presence known in the secondary with three tackles — including a big hit on running back Le'Veon Bell — and a pass breakup that led to Kindred’s interception in the fourth quarter. A former undrafted free agent out of Minnesota, Boddy-Calhoun played extensively as a rookie, recording three interceptions, 11 pass breakups and 36 tackles in seven starts.

Honorable mention: The Browns run defense

It’s hard to single out one player in what was a collective, swarming effort to stop Bell. The Browns held the Pro Bowler to 32 yards on 10 carries after he combined for almost 200 yards in Cleveland last November.

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