DeShone Kizer: Benching ‘Sparked My Competitive Juices’

The Pittsburgh Steelers may have had their share of drama this season, but really…can anybody ever measure up to the Cleveland Browns? A week after Head Coach Hue Jackson elected to bench his rookie starting quarterback, DeShone Kizer, he has now reinserted the Notre Dame product after his replacement, Kevin Hogan, struggled significantly in his first career start.

Against the Texans—more on that in a bit—Hogan, a second-year former fifth-round draft pick, completed just 20 of 37 pass attempts for 140 yards, a 3.8 yards per pass attempt average, throwing for one touchdown, but for three interceptions. He was sacked four times and fumbled once.

The Browns are hoping that the temporary demotion served as motivation for their young starter, and he has at least made it sound as though that is the case, telling reporters this week, “it definitely sparked my competitive juices. It definitely motivated me throughout the week to make sure that I’m doing extra”.

Through the first five weeks of the season, Kizer completed just over 50 percent of his passes, 81 of 159, throwing for 851 yards with a 5.4 YPA average, throwing three touchdowns, but against nine interceptions. He fumbled three times, losing two of them, though he also added two rushing touchdowns.

“I think the most important thing that I got to see from my perspective last week”, he said, “is what my process is and what our process is as a unit and how, in this league, you have to talk less and do more”. Not a bad lesson for the young 21-year-old to learn.

Kizer did say that he is content with the path he has taken so far in preparing for the rigors of the NFL, but that he intends to approach that path with “a new energy” and “a new mindset” in order to help him take his performance to the next level that it needs to reach.

He also talked about how it was beneficial to gain the perspective of watching the game from the sideline rather than on the field and how the momentum of the game shifts, studying the reactions of his coaches and teammates, as well as the fans.

“You get to feel the momentum of the game a little more than when you are out there”, he said. “You get to see the reactions of everyone. From the fans to the coaching staff, to the defense, you get to see all the different parts that move along throughout a game”.

“For me”, he went on, “it really showed last week the importance of making sure that the ball is just simply out of harm’s way and what positive plays can do for the team”. His nine interceptions lead the league, though all four AFC North quarterbacks are in the top five.

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