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Hue Jackson has ‘total confidence’ in DeShone Kizer

Browns QB DeShone Kizer looked the part in his NFL debut.

It’s been a rough first few games for Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer, but he still has the confidence of his head coach. Speaking with media Monday after Kizer was benched in Week 4 during a brutal outing against the Cincinnati Bengals, head coach Hue Jackson made it clear he still has Kizer’s back.

Through four games, Kizer has completed just 51.4 percent of his passes, is averaging just 5.4 yards per attempt while throwing just three touchdowns and a league-worst eight interceptions. He opened the season with a pretty impressive game but has since been objectively atrocious, completing less than half his passes in each game.

But to say those stats are the measure of the quarterback would be somewhat misleading. He’s been routinely failed by his receivers. High-priced free agent Kenny Britt might as well not even be playing, he’s been so bad. The one interception Kizer threw in Week 4 bounced right off Britt’s hands, prompting fans to call for the team to release him. Jackson himself admitted the Browns would have benched Britt Sunday if they weren’t already so thin at the receiver position.

Jackson also said before the season that he was going to stick with Kizer, come good times and bad. So far he’s sticking to his word. And quite honestly, it’s the smart move, both in terms of not crushing the young man’s confidence and in terms of the long view for the organization, which might have to decide whether to select a quarterback atop the 2018 NFL Draft or look at other positions.

Whether Kizer has “truly gotten better over the last four weeks” is debatable. But Jackson is a better judge than this scribe when it comes to NFL quarterbacks. At least for now, we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and commend him for sticking up for his guy.