DeShone Kizer working after hours to build confidence, reps within Browns offense

The Browns had just finished their first day of training camp, but there was work left to be done for DeShone Kizer.

As fans trickled out from the grandstands and back to their cars, the rookie quarterback stood alone on the practice field, going through his progressions, directing invisible players into their proper spots.

Kizer, the former Notre Dame star and second-round NFL Draft pick, said those sessions are nothing new. "It's always happened," he said.

What is new, however, is calling plays inside the huddle, something he didn't do in his two years with the Fighting Irish.

"I just saw yesterday as a good opportunity to be on the field with some people still around, and still having a little pressure on me to still say things precisely," Kizer said.

"But I think also that time after, I'm also able to get the reps that I wasn't able to get. You're limited to reps when you're in the beginning of training camp. There's four guys who are taking reps, so out of 12 plays, you're only getting four. So if I can go out there and accurately communicate the plays that I wasn't in on, it gives you confidence going into the next day."

Indeed, Kizer finds himself in a competition to be the Browns' starting quarterback this fall. In order to do so, he'll have to beat out Cody Kessler, who started eight games as a rookie last year, former Texans starter Brock Osweiler and Kevin Hogan.

Friday marked the second day of Browns training camp.

Browns coach Hue Jackson said Kizer has started to grasp Cleveland's offense.

"I could take you back to his days at OTAs – he struggled calling the plays," Jackson said. "The words were a lot simpler. The language was a different. I didn't see as much of that today. That's improvement."

Kizer looked sharp in Friday's practice, connecting on several pretty passes, including one to Mario Alford that evaded tight coverage. Before that, the 21-year-old offered the same level of introspection that's garnered praise from reporters, Jackson and the Browns front office.

'He's a bright young man. He comes from a good program and has a good family," Jackson said. "He has worked extremely hard. At the same time, he still has to 'show.' What I mean by that it is he still has to play consistently over time. It's only been two days, but he's different. I agree with you guys. He does see the big picture a little bit different than some other guys do, but that does not always equate to being a really good football player, too. We have a lot of work to do."

Against that backdrop, neither Jackson nor Kizer are in any rush to accelerate the rookie's development beyond its natural trajectory. There will be no frowns or pouting, Kizer said, if he doesn't emerge as QB1.

"It's hard to be disappointed about something that's not in my hands I've always been told to control what you can control," Kizer said. "This league is one where quarterbacks don't find success until three or four years in."

"There's multiple ways of getting there," he added. "I think this is an awesome environment to develop and to learn."

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