Hue Jackson trying hard not to ruin DeShone Kizer

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson is allowing the quarterback process to play out as he attempts to avoid the blueprint for ruining a rookie QB.

Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson has a quarterback controversy on his hands, if for no other reason than the media and some fans have declared it.

The heat was already on Jackson before the opening preseason game, when presumptive starter Brock Osweiler went a pedestrian six-of-14 for 42 yards on did not lead the Browns into the end zone while facing the first-team defense of the New Orleans Saints.

Once rookie DeShone Kizer passed for 184 yards and lead the Browns to a pair of touchdowns against the Saints’ third-team defense, the decision in the minds of many was compete: name Kizer the starter now and don’t look back.

The idea of installing Kizer as the starter is not without its charms. He would certainly benefit from taking all the practice reps with the first team between now and the Sept. 10 opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Playing against the first-team defenses of the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers – the next two opponents on the preseason schedule — would also help.

It is also clear that Cody Kessler is destined to be a backup, and while there is a chance that the Browns can get the Denver version of Osweiler, it is equally possible that the Houston version is on the roster.

That all sounds great, but quarterbacks coach David Lee wants to pump the brakes a bit before the Kizer train reaches an unsafe speed, according to

"“He is a lot better than he was in the spring, but he is still not there guys, and he knows it. There is so doggone much. Right when he has good practices and things happen in a game, that is why this one on Monday night is so good for him. That is what we need is put him in the real lights on a national television game and see if he can carry these fundamentals that we are harping on him over and over and over into the game. He is trying and he is doing better. Has he got it mastered? Not yet. We have to know that he can do all of it before we put him out there full time. He is not ready for that yet.”"

It is an interesting spot for Kizer, but not an uncommon one for rookies: he will earn a more significant role once he earns it, but how will he earn it unless he is given the opportunity?

If he digs around the dusty corners of his office, Jackson might find Chris Palmers’ blueprint for how to ruin a rookie quarterback, which was written in 1999.

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That year the Browns brought in veteran Ty Detmer would play and give rookie Tim Couch the time he needed to acclimate to the NFL game. There was the added bonus of not exposing Couch to the beatings that opposing defenses would deliver as they worked over Cleveland’s expansion-built offensive line.

That plan lasted until halftime of the opening game, when Palmer pulled Detmer for Couch, who would go on to take a league-high 56 sacks that season. While his career was better than many fans give him credit for, those beatings took their toll on Couch and helped contribute to him being out of the league after just five seasons.

The parallels are not exact — instead of an offensive line built from castoffs, the Browns have one of the most expensive lines in the NFL – but the bottom line is still the same. If Kizer is not ready, then he is simply not ready. Wishing he were ready, or believing he is ready because he may be better than the other options, won’t change that.

Jackson is also not going to make a decision on anyone’s time table but his own, according to the team’s website:

"“The quarterback thing, as I go through practice and keep watching tape, will sort itself out. It is not the thing that is heavy on my mind that way. Obviously, we need to make a decision when the time comes and we will, but right now today, I still think it is too early.”"

Kizer’s time as the starter is going to come at some point. If it is the season opener, fine. If it is at some point later in the season, that’s fine as well. Jackson has to do what is best for the team and for Kizer when it comes to inserting him into the starter’s role.

A wise man once said that patience is a four-letter word when it comes to the Browns. That is still true today, but a little patience while Jackson lets the situation play out is not such a bad thing.

Next: DPD Podcast: Analyzing the preseason opener

Browns fans have waited since 1999 for a quarterback to finally take hold of the starter’s role, the last thing they need is for Jackson to repeat the mistakes of 1999.