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DeShone Kizer takes step forward, but 'too soon' to reorder Browns QB rotation

DeShone Kizer shined in his NFL debut, but the Browns aren't in a rush to change their quarterback rotation following their preseason opener.

Head coach Hue Jackson said the rookie took a step forward in Thursday night's comeback victory against the Saints, but it's "too soon" to make any wide-sweeping decisions from one game.

"I think there's a process to all of this," Jackson said Friday on a teleconference. "I think we're just in the beginning phases of it for him."

Kizer, the big-armed former Notre Dame star, passed for 184 yards on 11-of-18 throws, including a 45-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Payton with under two minutes to play. Jackson praised Kizer for helping lift Cleveland to victory but emphasized there's still more to the position that the 21-year-old needs to learn.

"You want to do what's best for your team and for your players. It's not just because people see a bomb that's thrown down the field for 45 yards. There's more to playing quarterback than just that. We're not there yet," Jackson said. "When it's the right time to make the decision that we feel is right to say, 'This is the quarterback of the Cleveland Browns for 2017,' then we'll make that decision."

Kizer, who's currently listed behind Brock Osweiler and Cody Kessler on the team's unofficial depth chart, echoed a similar sentiment in his postgame news conference.

"I know that I can trust in (Jackson) to make sure that this developmental process goes in the right direction and continues to move forward the way we want it to," he said.  

"It's my job once again to just step up there when the reps are given to me and to maximize them to the best of my ability. Whether it be against the threes, against the ones or in a training camp practice or off of a card, it's my job to make sure I can go out there and play to the best of my ability whenever they call my name."

In what he described as the "raising of a quarterback," Jackson said there's still plenty of dynamics Kizer must master as he grows in Cleveland's offense.

"That takes time. I don't think you do things out of a knee-jerk reaction," he said. "You just don't make decisions to make them. You kind of let things play themselves out, and they will."

The Browns, who return to practice Saturday, host the New York Giants on Aug. 21. In that time, Jackson said he'll continue to evaluate all options at quarterback.

"If a guy is good enough and deserving of an opportunity,  trust me, we're not in a position to where we wouldn't give the best player an opportunity," he said.

"We'll continue to work through this and when we think the time is right, whenever that is, then we will make that decision."

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