5 Browns players who shined vs. the Buccaneers


TAMPA -- **The Browns rallied past the Buccaneers on Saturday night, overcoming stormy weather and a late deficit to notch a third preseason win in as many games.

Here are five players who shined in Tampa:

QB DeShone Kizer

Browns coach Hue Jackson said the final stat line didn't accurately reflect how rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer performed in his first preseason start. Instead, the former Notre Dame star and second-round NFL Draft pick showed poise and promise in Tampa despite completing 6-for-18 passes for 93 yards and an interception.

"I thought he did some good things. I know the numbers weren't like I would like or he would like, but I thought he moved the team and made some plays," said Jackson, who indicated Kizer was poised to be named the team's permanent starter.

"I'm going to go back and watch the tape, but I feel comfortable with him. I thought he handled things really well. His eyes were good, the conversations we had was what you want with your quarterback."

Perhaps most emblematic of that was when Kizer — who has now completed 25-for-49 attempts for 351 yards and a touchdown in three games — avoided pressure and delivered a 32-yard strike to Corey Coleman on third down early in the game.

"He has the right feel for me and for what I'm looking for, but I'll go back and watch the tape," Jackson said when asked whether Kizer had earned the starting job. "I'm sure I'll let you guys know right away."

S Jabrill Peppers

On the first series of the game, the rookie safety picked off Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston on the goal line, recording his first interception of the preseason. The takeaway also set the tone on a night when Cleveland's defense gave up zero touchdowns and held Tampa Bay to 3-of-15 conversions on third down.

"He's just a good young player on this team that knows ball. He's a good football player," cornerback Joe Haden said. "Ever since we put the pads on, that's when you are able to tell just like his instincts and his nose for the ball. I'm just happy for him and he just needs to keep pushing. He loves the game, so you can tell he's never satisfied."

Peppers, the 25th overall draft pick and former do-it-all Michigan star, is expected to contribute in multiple ways this fall, be it on defense, special teams and potentially offense.

WR Corey Coleman

Coleman, the team's first-round pick in 2016, seemingly made ridiculous catch after catch Saturday night. In all, he totaled four receptions for 66 yards on eight targets. "Corey Coleman is one of our great playmakers of many," Kizer said of the second-year receiver. "When you put him backside one-on-one you have to be able to create some sort of connection between quarterback to your X-receiver. For him to go out and make the plays that he did only allows me to create trust for him."

It was Coleman's best outing since a breakout game against Baltimore early last season. "I'm feeling good, really blessed to be out there," said Coleman, who has been limited in the past year by injuries. "I've got to keep on getting better and remain focused and keep on climbing that ladder."

QB Kevin Hogan

Having watched most of Cleveland's first two preseason games from the sideline, Hogan stepped up when the Browns needed him. The second-year quarterback tossed a 5-yard touchdown to Jordan Leslie with under 2 minutes to play, capping an eight-play, 87-yard drive that put the Browns ahead once and for all.

Hogan, who has taken reps behind Kizer, Brock Osweiler and Cody Kessler since training camp opened, completed 7-of-13 passes for 82 yards. In the process, Jackson said the former Stanford standout might've elevated himself in the team's pecking order at quarterback.

"That was tremendous at the end. The guy made some plays with his legs, his arm, and throwing a wet ball," Jackson said. "Again, running the offense, he did some really good things. That's why I need to see the tape to be able to talk to all of our guys and be very forthcoming and upfront with the guys about where we are."

DL Carl Nassib

On a night where the defense shined, Nassib put together what was perhaps his best performance of the preseason. The 6-foot-7 defensive lineman recorded a sack and two tackles-for-loss as he battles for a spot in Cleveland's defensive line rotation. Nassib, a third-round pick in 2016, totaled 20 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 4 pass breakups in 12 games last season.

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