- After a tough afternoon in Baltimore, the Browns remain confident in rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer as he prepares for another road trip.
"We want this guy to be our franchise quarterback. I stand behind this guy wholeheartedly," head coach Hue Jackson said earlier this week. "He's going to get better. This guy has played two games in the National Football League and we are already trying to compare what he does, or we act like he should be playing like Brett Favre or something."
Kizer, making his first start in an NFL regular season road game, passed for 184 yards and three interceptions and was strip-sacked in Sunday's loss to the Ravens. After the game, the former Notre Dame standout and second-round NFL Draft pick took ownership of his miscues. "That's one of my poorest performances that I've ever had," he said. "I'm just going to try to use it as motivation going into this week to make sure that I can prove to my teammates, prove to the Cleveland fans and prove to this organization the type of guy that I actually am."
Jackson said Kizer will go through highs and lows this season but grow from those experiences.
"There are going to be dips sometimes, there is going to be a big high sometimes. I need to get him to play consistently over a period of time so our football team and our offense can play consistently," he said. "I think this guy has what it takes. He's growing every day. He grew even through the negative last week. It's not fun, but he is learning."
- With Corey Coleman out with a broken hand, the Browns hope a young wide receivers room steps up without the former first-round pick. "The guys have all rallied to a man," Jackson said. "They understand there is a job we have to get done."
Cleveland is counting on the likes of Kenny Britt, Ricardo Louis, Rashard Higgins and Kasen Williams to help surround the young Kizer with playmakers on the outside. Higgins, a fifth-round pick in 2016, put together a breakout game last week, catching seven passes for 95 yards on 11 targets in Baltimore.
Coleman, who was placed on injured reserve earlier this week, suffered the injury late in Sunday's loss. He had six catches for 62 yards and a touchdown.
- The Browns will be without one of their best players Sunday as linebacker Jamie Collins Sr. won't suit up because of a concussion. In his place, Cleveland hopes James Burgess Jr. — who had a sack and two tackles last weekend — rises to the challenge.
"I think he's made plays. He has a sack. He has made tackles. He has gotten his hands on balls," Jackson said. "So, he knows how to play within our system, and we trust him. He's accountable and does the things we ask him to do. I think he will go make plays when given the opportunity."
- After an 0-2 start, Jackson didn't flinch when asked what a win would do for a young Browns team that has showed promise in its first two weeks. "It would be outstanding. We need the win. Our guys have worked extremely hard, and that is something I have talked to them about," he said.
"Obviously, like I said, we played two of the better teams in our division. One and two in Pittsburgh and Baltimore, and we get it. We're not there yet, but that's where we want to be. We competed. We didn't compete well enough to win. We have an opportunity to go out and play better this week and try to get a victory. It would boost everybody's morale – the organization, our players, everybody – because that is where we want to get to as fast as we can, which is winning."