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Hue Jackson believes QB DeShone Kizer will 'grow,' get better from 2nd-half removal


CLEVELAND —**DeShone Kizer was frustrated with head coach Hue Jackson's decision to bench him, but he understood and respected it.

The rookie quarterback struggled in Sunday's 17-14 loss to the Jets and didn't play the second half as Cleveland instead leaned on backup Kevin Hogan.

"My job as a quarterback here is to do whatever I can to help win," he said in his postgame news conference. "It's tough to do that when you're not in the game due to poor performance."

Kizer took ownership of a performance that saw him complete 8-of-17 throws for 87 yards and one interception on a day where Cleveland's defense held New York to just 212 yards. The youngster lamented those shortcomings and an 0-for-3 showing in the red zone.* *

"Kizer is developing, but his job is still to win. That's first and foremost," said head coach Hue Jackson, who added Kizer remains the team's starter as of Sunday afternoon.

"I didn't think (the game) was going in the right direction. That's why I made the decision to take him out. If that was the case and it was just about development, I would have just left him in. It's not about that. It's about winning.

"I told you guys, we go into every game trying to win. That's our goal. That's our job. That's my job. I'm not here just to get players better. That's part of it, but it is also to win. I think if there is a decision that needs to be made to win, that is the decision I'm going to make."

Kizer, who has experienced highs and lows in his first five games, also took this setback in stride. The 21-year-old was his own biggest critic and said he needs to improve as the Browns still search for their first win of the season.

"This is all new to me. Being 0-5 is new to me. Being in the NFL is new to me," he said.

"I'm just trying to do whatever I can to continue to represent my team and my organization the best way I possibly can and continue to work as hard as I possibly can to become a better player to experience some success in this league. This organization and this city deserves wins. It's on me as the quarterback of this team to do whatever I can to help us get some wins."

Trading his helmet for a ball cap, Jackson said Kizer remained supportive, energized and engaged on the sideline as the Browns rallied in the third quarter.

"His support of Kevin, his support of giving me thoughts of what he saw. I thought he was outstanding," Jackson said.

"It wasn't like he was distancing himself away from this football team. I think he was really rooting for Kevin, pushing the offense, and saying, 'Hey guys, let's go.' That says a lot about him. He didn't crawl off to a corner and sulk or anything like that. He was pulling for his teammates."* *

Hogan, who was unable to lift the Browns despite 194 yards passing and two touchdowns, echoed a similar sentiment.

"There are a lot of tough breaks there and I definitely feel for him," he said. "He's a heck of a player and heck of a talent I know he was fully prepared this week ... When he got out he was an amazing teammate. That can't speak highly enough of him in that situation."

Kizer, who stressed he remains confident in his ability and the direction of a young team, said there's a "process to winning." It's why he understood Jackson's decision to bench him in the best interest of the team.

"This is a production-based assignment that I have," he said, "and it's on me to do whatever I can to take these guys to the next level and putting them in the proper positions to be successful."

"We're talking about a young quarterback who's playing in the National Football League – the toughest position in all of sports," Jackson added. "All of a sudden, today, it didn't go as well for him. So I felt it was best to let him watch, stick somebody else in there because I thought it was best for the team to give them an opportunity to win the game."

"I know DeShone very well. He will rally from this," he continued. "He will get better. He will grow from it. He has to. That is the only way he is going to get better. There is no other way to do this."

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