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Browns sticking with DeShone Kizer, who showed 'heart' in loss to Jaguars

Posted Nov 19, 2017

The rookie QB struggled was sacked 5 times, struggled against Jacksonville

CLEVELAND — The best day of DeShone Kizer’s young career was followed by perhaps one of the toughest.

The Browns’ rookie quarterback struggled in Sunday’s 19-7 loss to the Jaguars a week after putting together something of a breakout performance in Detroit last weekend.

Kizer, who showed promise against the Lions despite highs and lows this season, took a step backward against a Jacksonville team that flustered him on a blustery, snowy afternoon and held Cleveland to a season-worst 184 yards.

“It hurts. I’m trying to do whatever I can to string together some games and continue to prove my development to my teammates and to continue to earn the respect of them,” Kizer said in his postgame news conference. “This is the first game that I have come off of the field feeling as if I didn’t prove that I’ve developed yet.”

Kizer completed 16-of-32 passes for 179 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions and fumbled twice in the final two minutes of the game.

To be certain, the youngster was under fire all day against a Jacksonville defense that has terrorized opposing quarterbacks all season. The Jaguars, who entered the game with league-high 35 sacks, sacked Kizer five times and forced five total turnovers.

It was a frustrating turn of events for a young Browns team that appeared like it might turn a corner after a gutsy effort in Detroit last week. And Kizer, who has stressed earning the trust of his veteran teammates, was his own biggest critic.

“I think that’s the big takeaway from this game is that once again, I get paid to be a professional passer,” he said. “Today, I missed a couple of throws and I can’t miss those.”

Browns coach Hue Jackson, who painted Kizer as a young player starting to come into his own last week, said “there’s no question” the rookie will remain the team’s starting quarterback for the remainder of what has been a disappointing season.

“Where we are right now, I need to continue to see him. Let’s let him play. Let’s let him play this thing out. As long as he is healthy, let’s keep putting him out there,” Jackson said.

“I want to walk away from this season knowing exactly what DeShone Kizer is top to bottom. I think he deserves that. I know this is all tough for him. Week in and week out, it’s the consistency he has to keep chasing. He just has to keep working at it.”

Jackson, who has benched Kizer twice this season because of turnovers, praised the rookie for his resiliency against one of the league’s best defenses.

“After the first interception, it takes heart to keep coming in,” Jackson said, pointing to Kizer’s 27-yard touchdown pass to running back Duke Johnson Jr. “That’s what it is. That’s the way this game is. I think he will only get better if he will keep taking that mindset and playing. The guy did not blink, and he was getting knocked around pretty good at the end. That is something to build on for him.”

Kizer, who has expressed a desire to be Cleveland’s long-awaited answer at quarterback, said he’s just focused on lifting the Browns to their first win.

“Right now, it’s not about proving to be a guy. It’s not about trying to become some franchise [quarterback] or any of that stuff,” he said. 

“It’s about winning a football game. I’m going to do whatever I can this week with this opportunity in front of me to make myself better, not miss the balls that I missed and do whatever I can to get this city and this club a win.”

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