DeShone Kizer needs to learn to be a passer, not just a thrower
By Thomas Moore
Cleveland Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer has had his problems this season. Is one of them that he throws the ball too hard?
The problems plaguing Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer have been pretty evident through the first five weeks of the season.
A slow internal clock has helped lead to 12 sacks. Poor decision making has led him to miss open wide receivers on a weekly basis. Inaccuracy issues help explain why he is completing just 50.9 percent of his passes in a league where quarterbacks routinely average 60 percent or more.
That last statistic has not been helped by a group of wide receivers who have made dropping the ball into an art form this year.
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However, that doesn’t explain why those same group of receivers can easily catch the ball when quarterback Kevin Hogan, who is completing 68.4 percent of his passes and will make his first NFL start on Sunday against the Houston Texans, is on the field.
One piece of the puzzle as to the difference between Hogan and Kizer may have been revealed on Thursday when wide receiver Kenny Britt met with the media. Britt is persona non grata among many Browns fans, but he has been in the league for nine years and has caught passes from a number of quarterbacks, so he may know a thing or two.
Turns out, Hogan may throw a more catchable ball the Kizer, as Britt explained to clevelandbrowns.com:
"“Every quarterback throws it differently. Hogan has a little bit more touch. Kizer is going out there and it is a straight laser. There are some throws that you can’t always throw as fast as you want. There are some throws that you have to use touch, and that is something that you probably develop over time.”"
Kizer wouldn’t be the first quarterback to enter the league and need time to get his “big arm” under control. We are old enough to remember John Elway having a similar problem his rookie year with the Denver Broncos. Sometimes a quarterback just needs to learn when to fire it in there and when a lighter touch is required to help his receivers catch the ball.
In a 2010 article in Sports Illustrated, Tim Layden talked to a number of quarterbacks and one of the biggest takeaway is that it takes more than arm strength to be a successful quarterback:
"Among current QBs, Favre’s arm strength is legendary; the Bears’ Jay Cutler is the heir. But velocity alone isn’t much more than a novelty. A pass thrown hard must also be thrown accurately and at the right time to the right receiver. This is why the big arm is just one piece of the passing jigsaw. Says Bratkowski, “Lots of guys without real strong arms could make every throw. That’s the difference between a thrower and a passer.”"
The good news is that learning a bit of finesse when it comes to throwing the ball is something that should be achievable. It may be a bit difficult for Kizer to do that while wearing a headset on Sunday afternoons, but it is not something that would be considered a fatal flaw.
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His career may have taken an unexpected hiatus, but if Kizer can learn to be a passer, rather than just a thrower, then it is very likely that we haven’t seen the last of him on the field.