Expectations are a funny thing. Just days after Cleveland Browns head honcho Sashi Brown stated he wanted to pump the breaks with second-round quarterback DeShone Kizer, head coach Hue Jackson fired up the Expectations Engine with praise over the rookie quarterback’s skill set and a slight mention of another big, athletic quarterback in the AFC North in Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger.
On air with Cleveland Browns Daily, Jackson said the following (transcribed by Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot) about his brand new, 6-foot-4, 233-pound quarterback:
“I don’t know that I’ve coached a guy with this kind of skill set. But he’s a big powerful man, so I know he’s going to get compared to another guy on another team in our division.
“I’m not going to talk about [Roethlisberger] because he’s that big and he has that kind of arm. He’s very mobile. So again, I don’t like to compare players and I know people will, but he’s got to come in and do what he can do and be the best version of him and that’s what we’re going to allow him to do.”
As much as fans have focused on the height of Browns wide receivers over the last several years, to put Kizer’s size in perspective, the last time the Browns selected a quarterback taller than 6-2, he was a 27-year-old Brandon Weeden. In 2014, with an average height of 6-foot-1, the collection of Johnny Manziel, Brian Hoyer, Connor Shaw and Tyler Thigpen were tied for the NFL’s smallest. That same season, 42 percent of quarterbacks on NFL rosters were 6-foot-4 or taller.
Things have changed for the Browns in recent months, however, as the 6-foot-2-inch Robert Griffin III has been replaced by the 6-foot-7-inch Brock Osweiler. Jackson has worked with the 6-foot-6-inch, 245-pound Joe Flacco and the 6-foot-2-inch, 220-pound Andy Dalton, but neither bring the same mobility as Kizer. Much is made about stature and arm strength in the AFC North where conditions tend to favor larger, stronger quarterbacks, and Jackson was quick to categorize Kizer as such.
“He’s a big man. He has the AFC North stature that I love. He has a big arm. He’s very intelligent. He’s played in a real big-time football program. He understands the demands of playing the position. He understands the demands of being a quarterback and the face of a franchise.”
When you factor in Brown’s comments of being slow with Kizer and rumors of the team looking to move Osweiler, smart money would say odds are still favoring Cody Kessler as the team’s Week 1 quarterback. While this may not excite too many fans, the team feels that these three quarterbacks put the team in a much better position than they were in at this point last season. They will have the chance to confirm or dispel these feelings starting next week when the rookies take to the field in Berea.