They say that if you think you have more than one quarterback, then chances are you probably don’t have any. The Cleveland Browns think that they have at least two, evidently—perhaps even four. But right now, the top two in the pecking order seem two of the youngest: last year’s primary starter Cody Kessler and this year’s second-round draft pick DeShone Kizer.
The Browns have been impressed with the progress that the Notre Dame product has made during his first offseason so far, and they have been rewarding him with first-team reps as he splits them with last year’s third-round draft pick, Kessler.
Cleveland Head Coach Hue Jackson was asked about Kizer and whether or not he was progressing at a rate quicker than they anticipated he would when they drafted him. “Yes he is”, was his response, according to Mary Kay Cabot for Cleveland.com.
“He’s understanding the offense. I could take you back to his days at OTAs – he struggled calling the plays”, he said. “The words were a lot simpler. The language was a bit different. I did not see as much of that today. That is improvement. Obviously, he made some good throws and did not turn the ball over. Those things are good”.
Cabot writes that “Kizer is being coached hard” as they groom him to play. “After one play on which he took off running up the middle and gained a chunk of yardage, quarterback coach David Lee talked to him about the play to explain what he could’ve done better”, she wrote, giving an example. “It appeared Kizer had some receivers open, and he may have given up on the play too early”.
For his part, the rookie quarterback himself also believes that he has been developing at an accelerated rate.
“The way that they’ve thrown me into the fire in the last couple months has been one that has allowed me to grow quickly and to become comfortable pretty fast”, he said, also according to Cabot. While he acknowledged that the decision about who is going to start “is out of my hands”, he said, “I look forward to just trying to play well when my time does come”.
Kizer, when asked about potentially starting the season opener for the Browns, said that he believes the coaches “have a good idea of when a quarterback is ready to go out there”. He described it as “an awesome environment to learn in”.
The rookie added that “Coach Jackson’s had a lot of success developing quarterbacks” and also complimented the team’s new-look offensive line. “It’s a great opportunity for me hopefully have some success early if that time has come”.