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DeShone Kizer remains Browns' starting QB: 'I think he's up to the challenge'

CLEVELAND — DeShone Kizer will remain the Browns' starting quarterback.

Coach Hue Jackson said the rookie will start in Chicago after Sunday's 27-10 loss to the Ravens, a game in which Kizer struggled with inaccuracy and turnovers.

"I think he's up to the challenge," Jackson said Monday. "He has some improving to do."

Kizer, who has had a rollercoaster first NFL season, completed 20-of-37 passes for 146 yards and two interceptions against a Baltimore defense that came after him all afternoon. He was also strip-sacked on the Browns' 1-yard line for a touchdown in the third quarter.  

After the game, Jackson intimated he'd need to further evaluate Kizer's performance and decide whether it was best to sit the youngster for the final two weeks of the season. But as the Browns continue searching for their first win, Jackson said the rookie gives them their best chance at doing so.

"What I said yesterday, I wanted to make sure I push back on that. What I said yesterday was I wanted to take a peek at the tape to determine where he is and make sure I had a chance to see him and talk to him to see where his head was and make sure he's ready to go," Jackson said. "If he wasn't up to the challenge, then if I needed to make a change, then I would."

Kizer, who's thrown 19 interceptions against nine touchdowns, has flashed promise this season but struggled to consistently demonstrate that improvement. He took another step backward against the Ravens in a game in which Cleveland totaled four turnovers and 97 yards of offense after halftime. Kizer, whom Jackson has benched twice at halftime because of interceptions, expressed disappointment after another failed attempt to lead the Browns to a victory.

"As the quarterback and leader of this team and leader of the offense," Kizer said Sunday, "it's on me to continue to do whatever I can to put myself in a position to get a win for those guys."

"I just think it was hard. That was the last home game in front of fans, family and friends. So that was a tough one," Jackson added. "I thought, again, just seeing him after the game is something that he wanted to help his teammates accomplish and he wasn't able to do it."

Jackson said the hope is Kizer bounces back in Chicago.  

"I think, I hate to say it this way but it's true, we've seen a pendulum swing like this with DeShone. This week it didn't go so well. The next week he plays well. This week he doesn't go as well. The next week he plays well. Hopefully that cycle holds true and this week he comes back, gets himself ready and he goes out there and plays his tail off," Jackson said. 

"That's the way I see it and I still think with him playing with his teammates that he gives us the best opportunity to get us a victory."​

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