Reality time: DeShone Kizer is not ready to be the starter
The Cleveland Browns need a quarterback and DeShone Kizer may eventually be the guy. But that time is not at hand just yet.
The Cleveland Browns selected quarterback DeShone Kizer in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft with the idea that someday, if everything goes according to plan, he would take over the starter’s role.
That day, however, is not looming on the horizon anytime soon.
Kizer has the size to be a quarterback in the rugged AFC North, and flashed the talent – at times – in college that makes it seem possible that he can be an NFL quarterback. But he also showed more than enough inconsistency that several quarterback-starved teams passed on him before the Browns selected him at No. 52.
Given time those flaws can be corrected, at least in theory, and it is a good sign that Kizer is doing everything in his power to work on his game. Where past rookie quarterbacks would have been into their second Jack & Coke shortly after practice ended, Kizer is still putting in time on the field.
It is still not enough, however, for the Browns to entertain the idea of handing Kizer the starter’s job, which is a harsh reality for those fans who were ready to name him QB1 the moment he was drafted.
But you don’t have to take our word for it as Kizer addressed the question earlier this week at minicamp, according to ohio.com:
"“There’s so much I have to learn. I’m still in the same position I was last time we talked, and that’s just trying to put myself in the position to compete one day. This offense is very intricate. This game is very intricate. This is a completely different level, and to sit here and say that a month’s worth of learning that offense and being out here is enough to be a starter would be really naive of me. I haven’t game planned for a team yet. We haven’t gone in and sat down and put in the hours to prepare for Pittsburgh yet. So to say that I’m in a position to go start against that team, I’d be completely wrong.”"
OK, Kizer is a rookie and not schooled in the ways of the NFL just yet. Maybe he is further along the path and just hasn’t realized it yet.
Well, let’s check in with quarterbacks coach David Lee for his assessment on the situation, per ohio.com:
"“He’s got a great future. He’s just a long way from being ready. He’s not ready, but he’s climbing on it, and he’s making progress. So when [will he be ready to start]? I don’t know. But when I look out there and I see him miss a protection call and he gets hit upside the head, I know he’s not ready. That doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, you can’t put him out there and endanger the team as well as get him killed.”"
Hmm, “getting the quarterback killed” has been a key part of the Browns offense for years now, so they should probably try to avoid that as much as possible going forward.
So Kizer believes it would be “naive” to say he is ready to start and Lee said Kizer is a “long way” from being ready. But they don’t have the accumulated wisdom of head coach Hue Jackson, the noted “quarterback whisperer.” Surely he is on the start Kizer now bandwagon, right?
Not so much, according to clevelandbrowns.com:
"“We didn’t draft him to say, ‘You have to do this right now.’ We drafted him to develop him and develop the talent and see if he could get there. We already have some capable guys here in Brock (Osweiler) and Cody (Kessler), and we want to see if he can compete with those guys. Obviously, there are some things he does really well, and as I said earlier, there are some things where he is still a young quarterback. He’s still learning, but he is emerging. I do believe that. We will see how this all unfolds.”"
In summary: Kizer does not believe he is ready to start. Lee does not believe Kizer is ready to start. Jackson does not believe Kizer is ready to start.
So why should the Browns be in a rush to name Kizer the starter?
It’s hard for Browns fans to have to go through this again as the franchise has been fumbling around trying to find a quarterback for almost two decades now. It would so nice to have the team open training camp at the end of July and not have to hear a single question about the starting quarterback.
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That is not the reality the team is dealing with right now.
But, if things go according to plan – and something has to eventually go according to plan with the Browns – this might be the last summer that everyone has to deal with the quarterback issue.