DeShone Kizer learns something new each week, which is why the rookie quarterback is less concerned about his numbers and more focused on growing within a new-look Browns offense that has struggled early this season.
"When you are 0-4 and statistically one of the worst quarterbacks out there right now, you have to figure out where you're headed," Kizer said Wednesday. "What's the path right now? What's the message? For me, it's about doing whatever I can to grow in whatever coach decides needs to be the right room for growth for that week."
Through the first month of the season, Kizer has shown both promise and room for improvement. The youngster has completed 51 percent of his passes for 764 yards, three touchdowns and eight interceptions amid a winless start. And while statistics are important, head coach Hue Jackson stressed there are other effective ways to measure the youngster's growth as a signal-caller.
"We don't get into numbers. We want to complete more balls, there's no question, but I try not to make it about numbers. I make it about playing," he said. "Playing within what we're trying to accomplish and what we're doing. Again, I think we all know that a quarterback is not just measured by numbers, it's by winning and so, we haven't done that part of it yet. That's the ultimate. We want better numbers because it allows the offense to stay out there more and make more plays, but at the same time, I've been able to see and understand why the numbers, as you mentioned, have been the way they are."
Kizer said the Browns target different areas to improve each week. After struggling with turnovers against Baltimore and Indianapolis "we were talking about trying not to hold onto the ball and make sure that we are throwing the ball away and not taking sacks," Kizer said. "We made progress in that."
Indeed, in Sunday's loss to the Bengals, he was only sacked once and his lone interception was because of a dropped pass.
"Sometimes throwaways are the best medicine for a quarterback. I'm teaching him how to say 'uncle,'" Jackson said. "He did it last week. He has to continue to do that if things aren't there. It's not about completion percentage. It's about running our offense, managing our offense and taking care of the football."
With a home game against the Jets on tap, Kizer said there's a new lesson to master this week.
"It's about putting the ball in playmakers' hands and trying to go score points so we can go win a game," Kizer said. "It's up to me to do whatever I can this week to grow in that."
"Obviously, this is going to be a process," he continued. "Rome wasn't built in a day, and I'm looking forward to attacking this consistently and taking on those small projects until it becomes something that we really want it to be."