The Cleveland Browns’ starting quarterback job is DeShone Kizer’s to lose.
The Browns announced Wednesday that Kizer will start the third preseason game, which is universally treated like the dress rehearsal for the regular season. If Kizer has a solid game on Saturday at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he will presumably start the regular-season opener as well.
In the announcement, coach Hue Jackson said Kizer is “positioning himself well” to start Week 1.
“This morning, I informed our quarterbacks that DeShone will be our starter for the third preseason game against Tampa,” Jackson said in a statement. “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.”
Brock Osweiler had started the first two preseason games but didn’t play well in either. Jackson said after Monday night’s game that he felt he had seen enough to pick a starting quarterback, which seemed to mean that Osweiler would win the job by default. It appears he meant he had seen enough out of Kizer, a second-round pick.
Kizer has had some good moments this preseason. He has shown all the physical skills that make him a hot prospect coming out of college. While it was assumed Kizer would need some time to acclimate to the NFL game, reports on Kizer from the Cleveland media have consistently been positive. That said, the regular season is a different game, and Kizer will have some struggles. But at least the Browns can start to figure out if Kizer is their quarterback of the future. They need to answer that question before next year’s draft, when the NFL welcomes a strong group of quarterback prospects.
Kizer could complicate the whole situation by playing poorly on Saturday. Then the Browns would have to re-evaluate all their options. But for now, they’re preparing to go into the season with a rookie quarterback as their starter.
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