It’s Kizer . . . again
Well of course DeShone Kizer will have the huddle Sunday when the Browns entertain – after all it is a Cleveland home game – the Minnesota Vikings in London.
Did you really think Hue Jackson would start Cody Kessler against a Vikings defense that averages three sacks a game? A defense that allows a meager 283 yards a game? A defense that is one of the National Football League’s stingiest?
Of course not.
Kizer will put his 0-6 record as a starter on the line despite slithering into Jackson’s doghouse quite innocently late last week after local news video confirmed after Sunday’s 12-9 overtime loss to Tennessee that the rookie was out having a good time early Saturday morning.
It was perceived as lack of dedication for carousing less than 36 hours before the Sunday afternoon home date with the Titans and perhaps reason enough to Jackson to place him in “reset” mode for another week.
Kizer, who added two more interceptions to his already league-leading total, was remorseful when caught. “I’ve learned this was a distraction,” he said after several teammates discussed it with him. The contrition might have led to Jackson’s decision.
The coach also counseled him. “My discussion with DeShone was you have to be careful,” he said. “Decisions you make can affect you. People can see things the wrong way.”
And then a pat of encouragement on the back.
“DeShone is going to grow out of a lot of this,” he said of his 21-year-old quarterback. “He’s working at it. We all saw improvement from him in the first half (against the Titans) until the first (interception). He was doing some really good things and playing well.”
Wait. There’s more.
“He has to make that next jump and take that next step,” the coach said. “How fast can he get there himself? I don’t know at this time.”
That’s because Kizer is consistently inconsistent. Just when you think he gets it, he does something incredibly stupid. But when you stop and think about it, that was his problem at Notre Dame.
That trait caused Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly to throw up a caution flag when Kizer declared for the college draft, warning that he was not nearly ready for the NFL. He needed another season to smooth out all the rough spots that plagued his sophomore season.
What Browns coaches and fans are witnessing now is nothing more than an extension of those problems at the college level. He is wildly inaccurate and a candidate just about every time he drops back to throw the football to the wrong team.
As has been proffered here before, Kizer is the kind of quarterback who will thrill you one minute, then break your heart the next.
And yet, Jackson has chosen to stay with him, which is more of an indictment against Kessler than it is an endorsement of Kizer.
For the sake of continuity, though, the coach, now that he has made the decision, must stay with Kizer no matter what happens on the field. No more yanking him out of a game on a whim. That’s not going to accomplish anything. Let him play entire games no matter what the score.
If Kizer is going to learn, it might as well be the hard way. Keep him on the field. Let him learn from his failures. Nothing positive can be accomplished watching from a sideline vantage point.
So was this the right decision? At this point of the season, there is no such thing as a right or wrong decision with regard to who starts at quarterback for the Browns. It’s way too late in the season to label it one way or the other.