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It’s Kizer: Browns rookie QB will start crucial preseason game against Bucs

Hue Jackson announced that DeShone Kizer will make his first start against Tampa Bay on Saturday.

Kizer gets the start with Osweiler and Kessler now in the background.
Erik Drost on Flickr

Wow! Wednesday morning, the Cleveland Browns released a statement announcing that rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer will start the team’s third preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Anyone who has ever watched the NFL knows that the person who starts the “dress rehearsal” game of the preseason might as well be the opening day starter.

However, head coach Hue Jackson did leave himself a little bit of wiggle room by not yet announcing Kizer as the regular season starter. In the event that Kizer has just an atrocious game against the Buccaneers, even with having the benefit of left tackle Joe Thomas playing, then the second-year coach could weigh his options again between Cody Kessler and Brock Osweiler.

Statement from Hue Jackson

“This morning, I informed our quarterbacks that DeShone will be our starter for the third preseason game against Tampa. He has made a lot of progress by investing the time necessary to learn our offense, working hard to improve on his fundamentals while also effectively moving the offense in preseason games. Development is so important for a young quarterback, this is the next step he needs to take and he deserves this opportunity. We are very excited about seeing DeShone in the role of starter for this week, as he is certainly positioning himself well to earn the starting job heading into the regular season.

“Much like DeShone, Brock, Cody and Kevin have worked extremely hard throughout training camp and have helped create a very supportive environment in our quarterback room. They’ve pushed each other, worked well together and we expect that to continue.”

Stats Behind the Decision

We can make a lot of excuses for Brock Osweiler’s lack of productivity in his two preseason starts. He didn’t have a starting left tackle with him, he’s had minimal time with the first-teamers to build chemistry, and six series is still a relatively small sample size.

But we also know that Osweiler was bad in Houston last year, and DeShone Kizer has shown a lot of flare in his two games worth of action. As a rookie, he’s not as “ready” as many would want him to be, but I think a big factor in the decision is his effectiveness in running the read-option. The running game will be the focal point of Cleveland’s offense in the regular season, and Kizer helps strengthen that threat.

Feeling Good About This for Awhile

If you go back to Tuesday’s conference call with Hue Jackson, he ended the call with the following quote, saying that he’s “been feeling pretty good about this choice for awhile.” So this move has been simmering, from Kizer getting rotational work with the ones, to being the second-stringer this past Sunday, and now being fast-tracked as the potential opening day starter.

“I think I feel pretty good about where I am. I have been feeling pretty good about what I feel and what I think for a little while now, but you have to let things, as I have always said, play out. Today, I wanted to finish the things I wanted to watch, have the conversations I wanted to have with others and just kind of move from there.”

Live Reaction from Brock

(h/t Matt Wood)

Also, ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that Osweiler will not play in the third preseason game. That could be because the Browns want to give Kizer a lot of work, possibly three quarters of action and even up to a full game’s workload.

It could also be a statement to other clubs saying, “Hey! Osweiler is available via a trade if you’re interested! Take him for a bag of peanuts!”

What do you Think?


Do you agree with the decision to start QB DeShone Kizer this week?

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  • 76%
    (1349 votes)
  • 24%
    No, he’s not ready.
    (426 votes)
1775 votes total Vote Now