After being benched in his last two starts, it looks like rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer will remain benched in favor of Kevin Hogan ahead of Sunday’s Week 6 game against the Houston Texans.
Hue Jackson spoke to the media Monday and stopped short of naming Hogan the starter. But his language speaks for itself.
“If that is the decision that we make, then I think it will benefit him tremendously because he would get a chance to get a breather and take a look at it from a different lens and not from that pressure,” Jackson said. “The pressure of playing quarterback in the National Football League for 70 plays a game and making all of the right decisions and understanding defenses and where the ball goes sometimes can be tough. Some guys handle it extremely well. Some guys hit divots as they go. Some guys rise above it. That is OK. All of it is going to happen in a guy’s first year. I don’t look at what has happened to him as, ‘Oh, man, he has regressed or he is not doing this or he is not doing that.’ I don’t see that. I see a young man who is going through the process of trying to become a good quarterback in this league with a young football team. He is trying to help carry it, and that is tough.”
Kizer has already turned the ball over 13 times this year in four-plus games. Two of them occurred in the first half Sunday against the New York Jets, and both occurred inside their opponent’s five-yard line — a rather rare accomplishment.
That said, Kizer’s struggles aren’t his own to bear. He’s been failed many, many times by his receivers, and Kenny Britt has truly been a liability (like he was here).
Even though Kizer has gotten little help, it’s worth pointing out that the Browns have seen a lot more production offensively in the past two weeks when Hogan played. He is completing 68.4 percent of his passes and has thrown three touchdowns compared to two interceptions. Standing next to Kizer’s marks of three touchdowns and nine interceptions, it’s a stark difference.
With that in mind, the following words from Jackson Monday ring as even more salient.
“I am also responsible for [the other 52 players on the active roster]. I am responsible for making sure they understand that we are trying to win. We talked about [the importance of] development the other day. It is not just about development. It is about winning. Winning is first and foremost. Development is second.”
It’s not all Kizer’s fault. He was thrust into an impossible situation. Cleveland’s offense is talent poor at the skill positions. But there can be no doubt that Hogan has given Jackson and the Browns more reason to trust him than the rookie.
We’ll be shocked if Hogan isn’t under center Sunday when the Browns hit the road to take on the Texans.