DeShone Kizer has been methodical in his improvement since arriving in Berea, and he's steadily moved up in the quarterback pecking order because of it.
The second-round rookie will work with the Browns second-team offense in Monday's preseason game against the Giants. There's no way around it: He'll be facing stronger competition than he did last week, when he shined as the third-team quarterback in a win over the Saints.
ClevelandBrowns.com caught up with Kizer as he prepared for his next opportunity to impress.
CB.com: Where are you at in your development and how would you describe the progress you've made?
Kizer: I'm pretty confident. After having one game under my belt and seeing what it was like to prepare for an NFL game and now going into your second game, I've kind of created a process and a routine that allowed me to have success in the first game and now I try to build on everything we've done in training camp and preseason. I just try to build on the things you've done in the past and eliminate the weaknesses you have. For the most part, I'm confident and ready to go.
CB.com: When you look back on your debut, what stood out the most and what surprised you most about the NFL?
Kizer: The speed itself is probably the biggest thing that stood out. Obviously I was out there with a bunch of twos and threes against the Saints and with us, there's still a clear difference in the speed of the game. They were playing a bunch of man coverage, and it's really mano-a-mono. That's the big thing with me now is understanding you have to be completely accurate and understand the corners and safeties you're playing against are going to be the top in the world and you're going to have to put the ball exactly where you need it to be and make sure the timing you've had all offseason comes into play in games.
CB.com: How much did it help to get the amount of playing time you did?
Kizer: The more you're out there, the more reps you get, the better you're going to become, the more confident you're going to be. To be able to play that whole second half was an awesome opportunity for me to learn about myself and also learn about the game and how it's going to be out there against some of these star guys. It was definitely a meaningful experience for me.
CB.com: Are you the type of quarterback that looks back more at the throws you didn't make than the ones you did?
Kizer: Absolutely. That's the most important thing in the NFL is making sure you're correcting the weaknesses you have and obviously there's a couple throws in there I wish I had back and wish I could have made adjustments on. But at the same time, we're trying to move forward. We're trying to build on the good things and eliminate the bad things. I've made some corrections this week during practice and I look forward to going out there in practice and ripping it around Monday.
CB.com: What was the six-day stretch of practice like for your growth?
Kizer: It's a grind. It allows players to be 100 percent locked in on the game for a long stretch of time. During that, you really get to see what the improvements are that you need to make, what things you're going to continually do wrong at practice and really attack those. When you go out there and only practice two days at a time, you really don't know what your weaknesses are, so when you go for as long as we have, you can identify certain things you want to continue to work on once we get into the season.
CB.com: You've been working with the first-team, third-team and now the second-team offense. What's it been like getting to know basically every member of the offense?
Kizer: It's awesome. As a quarterback, it's your job to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the guys around you. Being able to go with the threes and up to the twos and sometimes with the ones, it allows me to figure out who I am as a passer in the sense there are different speeds out there. Corey Coleman is a much different route runner than the third guy who is playing the X position. When you're out there, you've got to be able to understand how to get the ball to them and complete passes at all different levels. It really challenges me and is creating some confidence that whenever I'm out there I can step in with whoever and still be successful.
CB.com: What's the quarterback room been like throughout this competition?
Kizer: It's cool. It's a really cool dynamic in the room. When you have Brock (Osweiler), who is a well experienced guy and has been under one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, he understands what it takes to be a veteran quarterback and what it takes to prepare every week. You can kind of learn from him in that sense. When you have Cody (Kessler), who was the starter last year and understands how Cleveland works, he has kind of a different insight on the Cleveland Browns and Kevin (Hogan) is right along the same page. The intelligence in the room and openness within in the room allows us all to learn from each other. Hopefully we can continue to build that rapport between the four of us and continue to get better. Whoever is out there is going to represent the whole room, not just themselves.
CB.com: QBs coach David Lee mentioned he uses a cinder block to help with your strides. How much has that really helped and have you ever worked with something like it before?
Kizer: He's an old school coach. He likes to focus in on small things and that's something I never really experienced. To have that cinder block out there and continue to do the small stuff he brings to the table each practice has allowed me to simplify my game and keep up with the basics. I was a big over-strider in college. We've eliminated that by simply putting a cinder block in front of me. Those small things he's known and he's done for countless years will allow me to continue to develop and I look forward to learning what else he has up his sleeve.
CB.com: What's the top thing you're trying to accomplish in this preseason game?
Kizer: Just continue to build, continue to get better. If you set small goals, it definitely helps you but overall I have no idea what they're going to show us. A preseason game is a preseason game for a reason. You never know if you're going to get the whole package or something small. You've just got to understand your system to be successful against anything that comes up. I'm just looking forward to stepping out there in another game experience, being in front of the Dawg Pound and trying to get another W.
CB.com: You grew up in Northwest Ohio, so you were familiar with the Browns growing up, but what's the biggest thing that's surprised you about being in Cleveland?
Kizer: How similar it is to Toledo. Obviously we're only an hour and a half away, but these are my people. These are my types of personalities I'm dealing with every day. It's been a blessing to be with a group and a community to one that's very similar to one I grew up in. It makes me feel very comfortable and I'm glad to be a part of the Cleveland family and I look forward to growing that relationship.