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Browns, DeShone Kizer stress patience, trust as rookie QB continues to grow

Posted Aug 18, 2017

'This is a process that’s been preached to me since Day 1’

Since coming to Cleveland, rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer has impressed the Browns with a certain level of introspection not often found in a 21-year-old.

That quality was on display Thursday as Kizer met with news reporters before the team concluded training camp, a three-week span in which the former Notre Dame star focused on growing under the tutelage of second-year head coach Hue Jackson.

To be certain, it’s all a process that requires both patience and trust between Kizer — who has found himself in the spotlight since his days at Toledo Central Catholic High School — and the coaching staff.

“You talk about this process, and I keep saying it over and over again, but in order to trust it, it takes work,” Kizer said. “When you go from being a star in three sports in high school and being the leader of a team in three sports in high school and getting to college and obviously taking a redshirt year and then jumping right into a leadership role in college, it’s different to be at the bottom of the totem pole.

“So to go into the NFL and now start from the bottom again,” he continued, “it causes for you to reset your mindset and that's been a lot of time making sure that I understand the position that I’m in and I continue to accept that and also use that as an opportunity to make myself better.”

Kizer will take that approach into Monday’s game against the Giants, where he’s set to work with the second-team offense after helping lift the Browns to a comeback win in their preseason opener against the Saints. In an ongoing competition to be the team's starter, Kizer -- who passed for 184 yards and a 45-yard touchdown with under two minutes to play last week -- stressed the need for consistency if he’s to continue making progress.

“I feel like the biggest thing I took from that game was, when I’m out there, I’m comfortable and I’m ripping it, I’m very confident,” he said.  

“When I first stepped in there and things are flying from all different angles, that confidence kind of takes a step back. I need to figure out how to get myself into a position that from the first snap that I step out there and the first rep that I take that I can be as comfortable and as confident as I possibly can be. That is only going to come from reps and going out there and getting the experience that some of these other guys already have.”

That’s why neither Kizer nor the coaching staff are in a rush to accelerate his development beyond its natural trajectory. Jackson said the rookie “has done a good job of just walking in here, being very humble and just working through this process with myself and (quarterbacks) Coach (David) Lee and the other quarterbacks" as he competes with veterans Brock Osweiler, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan.

“I keep saying this to you guys, it’s the raising of a quarterback. I don’t think you do things too soon,” Jackson said.

“I think he has to earn the right if he can, and if he can’t, that’s OK. We’re just going to keep pushing him and putting him in the right environment to keep getting him where he needs to be. He’s talented – we all know that – it's how fast can he grasp all of this and handle it and be able to perform at a high level.”

Kizer echoed a similar sentiment.

“This is a process that's been preached to me from Day 1, how this is gonna go,” he said.

“When my time is ready, when they’re ready and I’m ready, I can trust the fact that coach is going to put me out there. So as long as I continue to trust in them — which I will — there really isn't a timeline for myself. I’m just trying to get better every day and allow coach Jackson to make the calls.”

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