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9 burning questions for Browns QB DeShone Kizer

BAGSHOT, England -- DeShone Kizer is determined not to let another opportunity as Cleveland's starting quarterback pass him by.

The rookie was matter-of-fact in the assessment of his situation when he met with reporters Wednesday in Berea. Kizer knows he's improved in many areas of his game but that won't be enough to keep him on the field. Limiting the turnovers that have plagued him will be the key.

Kizer sat down with for one of his final interviews before Sunday's showdown with the Vikings. What was your initial reaction to getting named the starter after being sidelined last week?

Kizer: Not a lot of guys who have gone through some of the lows I've gone through continue to get opportunities. This one's about maximizing it. Second chances you get a lot, but third is unheard of. It's on me to make sure to do whatever I can to make the proper corrections in my game and hold onto this job as hard as I can. You've talked a lot about what you liked about your performance in the first half of last week's game. What in particular were you doing so well?

Kizer: It's just about creating positive drives. That comes from sometimes a 2-yard completion. I was able in that last game to find a rhythm. I started off the game maybe 6-for-6, 7-for-7 and a couple of incomplete passes were throwaways. Those are all positive plays in my book. When you grade out as well as I graded out in that first half, it becomes very disappointing to have a period of four plays define your game. But that's the nature of the position, right?

Kizer: Absolutely. In this league, it's all about being perfect all the time. You can't miss. Some of the great ones are still talking about it. I recently read an article about how Tom Brady still holds himself to those same standards of not missing, and he's one of the best passers ever. With me, it's about holding myself to a higher standard and understanding two plays, three plays, four plays can really change a game, especially in a negative way. At the same time, you can't allow that to pressure you and not go out to make those three or four plays that can change the game in a positive way. Even though you've gone through this, you seem more confident. How have you done that?

Kizer: I'm more confident than ever. My development in this last seven weeks of being an NFL starting quarterback and obviously spending one game on the bench has been through the roof, I think. I truly feel as if I've gotten better every time I step out there. I've become more comfortable, I understand the game a little more. I understand the defenses we're playing against a little more. Now it's about putting it together and creating a complete game. I haven't played in a fourth quarter in the last three weeks. We know in this league it's about winning in the fourth quarter. I'm excited just to put myself in the position that, when I play as well as I can play, it can turn into a good third quarter and an opportunity to finish a game and get a win for the team. Outside of turnovers, what's an area of your game you want to see improve this week?

Kizer: Simply accuracy. You can always improve on that. Accuracy in the red zone obviously has become a big point for me to attack, making sure the ball is out of harm's way. The ball can sail on you or ends up maybe two feet outside of where you're aiming at turns into an interception or turns into a tipped ball. In this league, tipped balls don't find the ground. For me, it's about making sure I can do whatever I can within my mechanics to make sure the ball is right on the guy so they can make a play. And if it's not there, you take off and throw the ball away and make sure we're keeping the ball at the end of every drive. Without Joe Thomas at left tackle, is it even more important to get the ball out quick?

Kizer: With or without Joe Thomas, you're playing against a very good defense. This is a defense that's going to pressure us and require us to get the ball out quickly. That's been the same mindset we've had all year, creating plays and putting the ball in playmakers' hands. That doesn't mean having to push it down 25 yards. We know that through some of our specialty guys like Duke (Johnson Jr.) and David (Njoku) and Seth (DeValve), a 2-yard completion can turn into a 20-yard gain. Those guys can do wonders with the ball in their hands. It's about making sure we stick to the game plan we've always had. That's getting the ball into your playmakers' hands as fast as possible. There aren't many running backs at the college level who can catch passes like Duke. Is that an adjustment you've had to make?

Kizer: His matchup nightmare is something I have to focus on, understanding you might be throwing a swing pass on a linebacker that is standing 3 yards away from him. In this league and with Duke, that guy's going to miss. Nine times out of 10, Duke is going to do what he can to get around that guy and it's on the next guy to make the tackle. It's still maybe a three out of 10 chance on that. With us, it's about making sure to simply acknowledge that our playmakers are our playmakers, and when the ball touches their hands, good things are going to happen. You have any experience going overseas before?

Kizer: I don't. I've never been overseas. I'm really excited for it. Playing an NFL game overseas is going to be a good way to start my trips. What makes the Vikings defense so tough?

Kizer: They have one of the better safeties in the league in Harrison Smith. His ability to be freed up through some good corner play to do kind of whatever he wants, from playing over the top of guys, blitzing, run fitting. A guy like that can make a team very good on the defensive side. When you have lockdown corners who are able to press and do what they do on the outside there, it poses another challenge for us. We're going to go out there and attack the way we always have. They're one of the top defenses in the league, but we know when we're playing at our best, we've driven on a lot of those same top defenses. It's about understanding that yes, this is going to be a challenge. But if we can execute our job to push the ball forward and create some sustainably good drives, we'll be all right.

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