It’s officially official. Cleveland Head Coach Hue Jackson formally announced on Sunday that DeShone Kizer will be the starting quarterback for the Browns going into the 2017 regular season. Kizer outperformed his competition of Brock Osweiler and Cody Kessler to win the job, cementing his status on Saturday night in a win over the Tampa Bay Buccanneers despite completing just 6-of-18 passes for 93 yards and an interception.
“DeShone is our starting quarterback,” Jackson said in a conference call on Sunday afternoon. “He has earned the right to play through his preparation. He has established a work ethic that I think has earned the respect of his teammates. I think it will forward him the ability to [run the] offense as we move forward, which hopefully will lead to success. It has been good to watch his development throughout the offseason. Obviously, he is a young quarterback and he still has a lot to learn. He is going to learn a lot and gain a lot of experience, and the only way you get that is by playing. We are all excited about that.”
The decision was made easier when Osweiler underwhelmed during the preseason, culminating in the third preseason game where he did not receive a single snap. Kessler continued his preseason struggles, completing 6-of-10 passes for 48 yards and failing to move the offense against the backup Tampa Bay defense. The competition was so lackluster against Kizer that Kevin Hogan probably put together a better single game performance than Osweiler and Kessler had done.
One of the big notes from the naming of Kizer on Sunday was Jackson’s comment on Kizer’s hold of the job going forward and his commitment to the young quarterback even through possible early season struggles.
“This is not just for the moment,” responded Jackson. “We are going to get with DeShone, ride with him through it all and work with him through all of this. You said it, those things are going to happen, and I think we get that. He gets that. We are not going to blink about it. We are just going to correct it and keep moving forward.”
“Anytime that you have a player who can win in different ways, I think it is important because obviously, he can win with his arm – he has tremendous arm talent – and then he can win with his legs because he is athletic enough and he is a big guy,” said Jackson. “He has the characteristics, as I mentioned earlier, that we covet. We have to continue to get him to use those at the best of his ability.”
The Cleveland Browns are now done with the quarterback competition with just one preseason game to go. The Browns finish up the exhibition slate on Thursday against the Chicago Bears in Chicago. It is not known how much the starters will play in the game. Thursday’s game will be the final tune up for the regular season with the Browns starting the regular season at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 10.