DeShone Kizer to Start vs. Buccaneers, 'Positioning Himself' for Starting Job

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2017

Cleveland Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer (7) looks to pass during an NFL preseason football game against the New York Giants, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, in Cleveland. The Browns won 10-6. (AP Photo/David Richard)
David Richard/Associated Press

Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson announced Wednesday that rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer will start the team's preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday.

Jackson praised Kizer's development and discussed where he stands in the quarterback competition with Brock Osweiler and Cody Kessler:

"This morning, I informed our quarterbacks that DeShone will be our starter for the third preseason game against Tampa. 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."

In two preseason games, Kizer has completed 61.3 percent of his passes for 258 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, while rushing for 47 yards and a score.

Getting the starting nod in the third preseason game is significant since it is generally the contest in which the starters receive the most playing time.

While Osweiler and Kessler have more NFL experience than Kizer, they have both struggled in comparison to the rookie during the preseason.

Osweiler has completed 54.5 percent of his passes for 67 yards, no touchdowns and one interception, while Kessler has a completion percentage of 70.6 with 97 passing yards, no touchdowns, no interceptions and one lost fumble.

Last season, Osweiler went 8-6 as a starter for the Houston Texans and even won a playoff game, but he struggled mightily at times and finished with 15 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.

That resulted in Houston's trading Osweiler to Cleveland in what amounted to a salary dump.

Kessler showed flashes for the Browns last season in throwing for 1,380 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions as a rookie, but he went 0-8.

Kizer entered the 2016 season at Notre Dame looking the part of a likely first-round pick, but a down year resulted in his sliding to the Browns at pick No. 52 in the second round.

He was widely considered a project who needed time to develop, but with the Browns starved for an answer at quarterback after years of struggles at the position, he may already be the team's best option.