Hue Jackson said he would be honest and forthright in his postgame press conference on Monday night, and it appears the film showed him the same thing fans saw over the first two weeks of the preseason. On Wednesday morning, the Cleveland Browns announced that rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer will be the starting quarterback for the team’s third preseason game.
“This morning, I informed our quarterbacks that DeShone will be our starter for the third preseason game against Tampa,” Jackson said via press release. “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 [Osweiler], Cody [Kessler] and Kevin [Hogan] 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.”
As referenced in our Week 2 “Winners and Losers” column, Kizer far outplayed erstwhile starter Brock Osweiler, the latter deriving zero points in his two starts. Meanwhile, Kizer completed 19-of-31 passes for 258 yards and a touchdown, rushed for 47 yards and a touchdown, and led drives totaling 24 points.
One thing fans will immediately notice is the lack of commitment for Week 1. Week 3 of the preseason is typically used as the “dress rehearsal” for the regular season.1
“I think this was another step in the process for DeShone,” Jackson said later Wednesday morning. “He has gotten better each and every week. He is showing the characteristics that I look for in our quarterback. When I looked back and looked at everything and thought through it all, it was best to give him this opportunity to walk out there again. I think he has a right to earn the opening start by the way he plays, and I think he knows that. He is trending in the right direction with our offensive football team. I thought hey, let’s give him a chance to go play and see if he can show and demonstrate those characteristics to the rest of our team, the staff and the organization.”
When asked about putting the Week 1 discussion “to bed,” Jackson offered the following:
“Well, it is in the bed,” he said. “It is definitely in the bed with me so I am very close to putting it to bed. Again, a lot of things can happen over the next several weeks. You just never know, but I feel good about the covers that are on top of me right now. We are doing well.”
Osweiler, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, is not expected to take a single snap in the game. Jackson said Week 3 will be used for the “young” players—Kizer, Cody Kessler, and Kevin Hogan.
- It’s worth noting that Kizer will have Joe Thomas in uniform for his first start, a drastic improvement over what he dealt with in Weeks 1 and 2. [↩]