On Saturday night, Kizer moved closer to being officially named starter for the regular-season opener. He was given the start in the third preseason game, coach Hue Jackson said this week Kizer was on track to start the regular season, and Kizer probably showed enough to win the job on Saturday.
Throughout this month, Kizer’s performance should give the Browns and their fans hope that he can finally put an end to the Browns’ endless carousel at quarterback.
The numbers against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday weren’t sparkling for Kizer, as they were for most of the first two preseason games. He played one half and went 6-of-18 for 93 yards and an interception. But on many plays it was clear to see that with some development, Kizer could turn into a very good quarterback.
On one first-quarter drive, Kizer showed why Jackson gave him the start on Saturday night. On third down, he delivered a very nice pass to Kenny Britt for the first down. On another third down, Kizer moved up in the pocket and threw a perfect pass on the move to Corey Coleman for a big gain. It was a legit NFL throw by the rookie from Notre Dame.
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Later in the drive, on another third down, he gave Britt a perfectly placed pass that might have been a touchdown, and at least would have been a first down, but Britt dropped it. Even though it was a drop, it was still a fantastic throw.
There’s no reason for the Browns to turn back to Brock Osweiler or Cody Kessler (who relieved Kizer to start the second half) or anyone else. Kizer has displayed some impressive skills and it seems clear Jackson will officially name him the Week 1 starter soon. There will be some bumps in the road but at least Kizer has an upside that nobody else on the roster does.
The question becomes if Kizer can do enough to establish himself over the course of this season as the Browns’ quarterback of the future. It’s an important question because next year’s quarterback class is expected to have some high-end prospects and the Browns will likely have another high draft pick. Then again, if Kizer plays well maybe he’ll knock the Browns out of a top-five pick and secure the job that way.
Kizer isn’t going to have a perfect, Dak Prescott-type rookie season. He was far from perfect on Saturday night. He still has a ways to go as a quarterback, like all rookie quarterbacks do. But he’s very promising. It has been a while since Cleveland fans could get excited about a quarterback, and Kizer seems to be one worth getting excited about.
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