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Rookie DeShone Kizer recharged, refocused as he prepares to guide Browns again

Posted Oct 18, 2017

Kizer was re-named Cleveland's starting QB after watching last week from the sideline

CLEVELAND — DeShone Kizer could only watch as the Browns were overpowered by the Texans in Houston last weekend. It was the rookie quarterback’s first game observing from the sidelines, replaced with backup Kevin Hogan earlier in the week to give the youngster a breather following five starts filled with highs and lows.

“It definitely sparked my competitive juices. It definitely motivated me throughout the week to make sure that I’m doing extra,” Kizer said.

“I think the most important thing that I got to see from my perspective last week is what my process is and what our process is as a unit and how, in this league, you have to talk less and do more.”

Kizer, whom the Browns re-named their starter Wednesday, spoke of being recharged, re-energized and refocused amid a winless start in which Cleveland has struggled with turnovers, inconsistent play and other self-inflicted wounds.

“I stayed on my same path and stuck to the process. I knew that there was going to be another opportunity for me to potentially play this year. Obviously, it came sooner than most expected,” he said.

“You have to have a better attitude. You have to do more. That’s what this game is. It’s doing more. For me, my personal process I think has been good, I am going to stick to it and I’m going to stay on the path that I’m on. Now, it’s just attacking it with a new energy, a new mindset and allowing myself to get out there and perform better.”

Kizer, a second-round pick from Notre Dame who showed promise but struggled with turnovers (especially in the red zone), lamented those miscues as holding the Browns back.

Wearing a ball cap instead of a helmet Sunday, Kizer said he gleaned a new perspective of how crippling such giveaways — the Browns had three of them against Houston — can be for a young team with little margin for error.

“You get to feel the momentum of the game a little more than when you are out there. You get to see the reactions of everyone. From the fans to the coaching staff, to the defense, you get to see all the different parts that move along throughout a game,” he said. “For me, it really showed last week the importance of making sure that the ball is just simply out of harm’s way and what positive plays can do for the team.”

That lesson could prove to be a critical one as the Browns lead the league with 16 turnovers. Those miscues have been the difference in close games and had something of an avalanche effect in games where the group has fallen into insurmountable deficits.

During the Texans game, Jackson said he had conversations with Kizer in between each series.

“He was just making sure that I was locked in on learning something. Every time in the second half when we came together, he was like ‘What did you see? What did you see? What did you see?’” he said.

“That allowed for me to stay engaged and made sure that he understood that I was out there and getting something from sitting out that game. From there, those conversations are what are going to lead us in practice and make sure that we can continue to head in the right direction.”

Kizer, whom Jackson expressed confidence in when it comes to the team’s long-term plans at quarterback, said he’s taken that challenge to heart.

“I think it’s understood now that if you’re not performing there’s definitely going to be a guy who can perform,” he said, “but it’s on me to make sure that that question never comes back up, go out there, do my job to the best of my ability and make sure that No. 7 is out there leading this team for years to come.”

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