CLEVELAND — Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer expects to play this weekend despite suffering a rib injury in Sunday's loss to Detroit.
Kizer, who put together his best performance of the season in a 38-24 defeat, said he was sore but in good spirits after being sacked by blitzing Lions safety Quandre Diggs late in the third quarter. Kizer was forced to leave the game but returned after two offensive series.
In his absence, however, Cleveland's offense struggled to continue what had been something of a breakout performance. While the unit finished with a season-high 201 rushing yards and Kizer combined for 287 yards and two touchdowns, the group couldn't recoup that momentum when he returned in the fourth quarter.
"It is part of the game. It's on me to make sure that I am protecting myself as much as I can to be out there as an asset to my team and giving whatever I can to be out there for my teammates, but once again, it is part of the game," he said. "When it was time to come back out there, I just wanted to pick up where I left off and attempt to win a game in the fourth quarter."
The Browns were unable to do that, but Kizer showed plenty of promise in his eighth start in nine games. He completed 21-of-37 passes for 232 yards and ran for another 55. His lone turnover came trying to make a play in the game's final minutes.
"As far as being team-protecting throughout the game and putting us in position to win in the fourth quarter, I think I was able to do that," he said. "I think there was a big emphasis on trying to make some big plays and we were able to do that as well – a couple with my feet, and a couple with guys going up there and coming down with the ball deep down the field."
Coach Hue Jackson, who praised the youngster in his postgame news conference, described Kizer as "a guy who's starting to get it."
"I thought he stepped his game up. The other thing for me as the head coach was watching his energy with the defense and with the special teams units because as a quarterback, you are the quarterback of the team but you are also the leader of this football team," Jackson said.
"I saw his energy picking up the defense and picking up the special teams units. That's what the quarterback has to do."
Kizer hopes to build upon that display against the Jaguars, who lead the NFL in sacks.
"It's all about doing more, and more, and more every time you don't win," he said. "We came out with a very good start and that needs to continue throughout the whole game. In order to do so, a guy like myself in a position of leadership needs to step up."