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DeShone Kizer downplays QB competition; focus is on learning

The top three quarterbacks spent time with the media on Day 2 of minicamp on June 14. Kizer walked back earlier remarks about starting as soon as possible and is comfortable taking the necessary time to learn.

NFL: Cleveland Browns-Minicamp
DeShone Kizer readies to throw a pass during minicamp on June 13, 2017, as Hue Jackson watches.
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

After much talk about reps on Day 1, the team's top three quarterbacks were interviewed prior to Wednesday's practice at Day 2 of minicamp. While Cody Kessler’s and Brock Osweiler’s interviews were plainly focused on winning the starting job, DeShone Kizer said his focus is on learning and he does not feel he’s ready yet to compete for the starting job.

While taking first team reps on Day 1 of minicamp fueled some to imply that Kizer is in the running for the starting job, Kizer himself bluntly stated, “It would be really naive for me to say that I’m in a position to go start ... I’d be completely wrong.” Kizer, showing good self-awareness, explained his reasons for seeing it this way, ranging from the need to enhance his consistency to learning the playbook, to better understanding game planning and reading NFL defenses.

NFL: Cleveland Browns-Minicamp
DeShone Kizer (7) stretches during minicamp at the Cleveland Browns training facility.
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

When pressed by a member of the media (I believe this was Mary Kay Cabot) to address his own remarks on draft day that he expected to come in and start as soon as possible, Kizer walked that back very directly:

“That draft day comment was quickly taken back as soon as I figured out where I need to go. There’s so much that I need to learn ... I just have to put myself in a position to compete one day”

Kizer went on to decline to put a firm timetable on when he could compete, saying “that’s coach [Hue] Jackson’s call” and that he feels comfortable spending time to get up to speed in the meantime. Kizer said he will spend then next month with Tom House, a quarterback mechanics expert, to further himself leading up to the start of training camp.

In contrast, Kessler played up his enthusiasm for competing for the starting role, telling the media that “It's always been a competition, you are always competing everywhere on the field with some exceptions, you know, like Joe Thomas.” Kessler said he needs to improve “everything” to win the job, but specifically highlighted his work on the deep ball at minicamp: “I got some chances to throw some deep passes ... you gotta take some of those shots ... that’s something I didn’t do enough last year ... [I was] a little too careful.”

NFL: San Diego Chargers at Cleveland Browns
Cody Kessler throws a pass during the Browns’ only win of 2016 on Dec 24, 2016.
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Despite Osweiler spending more reps with the second-unit on Day 1 of minicamp, this is still very much an open competition. When asked if he’s concerned with how reps are being shared, Osweiler had this to say:

“I’m really not. Obviously, like I told you guys a couple of weeks ago, I want to be the starter of this team and I’m working every single day to put myself in a position to earn that starting job, but my focus isn’t about who is getting what reps. My sole focus is ‘What can I do today to be a better player, have a good practice and make my teammates better?’”

So far, all the quarterbacks are saying and doing the right things to bring the offense together.