DeShone Kizer likely will not get a second chance in 2018
By Thomas Moore
Cleveland Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer could benefit from a coaching change, but the arrival of a first-round quarterback in 2018 will render that moot.
Cleveland Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer has had, by just about every measurable statistic, a disappointing rookie season.
Kizer is last in completion percentage, 32nd in yards per attempt, 29th in touchdown passes, 33rd in quarterback rating and No. 1 in interceptions.
Much of Kizer’s early season struggles were attributed to the Browns having a “lack of playmakers,” with some believing that he would be transformed once wide receiver Josh Gordon returned to the field. (Similar to how Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson was only good because he had DeAndre Hopkins on the receiving end of his passes. Allegedly.)
Well, Gordon has been back for four games now and not much has changed for Kizer, who has completed just 54.8 percent of his passes, just a tick above his season average of 53.6 percent, and thrown seven interceptions against just four touchdowns.
The reality is that no matter who is on the other end of his throws, Kizer has not been an accurate passer and that is on him.
But Kizer has also received absolutely no help from head coach Hue Jackson, who is supposedly a quarterback’s best friend. That is apparent to anyone who watches the Browns on a weekly basis, and was explained very well in a story on Wednesday from Monday Morning Quarterback’s Andy Benoit:
"But the interceptions are a byproduct of a quarterback who has been asked all season to play beyond his comfort zone. Cleveland’s offense is not overly complex in the pre-snap phase, but once the ball is in play, you could argue that no system in football puts more of a burden on its quarterback. Kizer must make every read on his own. … All of these are plays where a quarterback doesn’t make a decision so much as he just executes a design. You rarely see it in Cleveland, even though Jackson was great with such tactics as the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati."
Kizer isn’t the first rookie quarterback to struggle, of course, and he is actually in some pretty good company in that regard. Goff’s completion percentage as a rookie was 54.6, this year he is at 62.1 percent. Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders was at 58 percent as a rookie before improving to 61.1 percent his second year and hasn’t been under that number since. Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford completed 53.3 percent of his passes as a rookie and did not break 60 percent until his third season.
More from Dawg Pound Daily
- How the Browns could maximize Nick Chubb in 2023
- Can Deshaun Watson get to Patrick Mahomes level for Cleveland Browns?
- 3 Cleveland Browns who should see an expanded role in 2023 and 1 who should not
- Is Marcus Davenport on the Browns radar in 2023?
- 5 Free agents from Super Bowl LVII Cleveland Browns should target
One of the key differences between those quarterbacks and Kizer is that they all got a second year to show improvement. And it is highly unlikely that Kizer will have the same opportunity.
It’s possible that Kizer would benefit from a coaching change the way that Goff did with the Rams, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards, and even if owner Jimmy Haslam moves on from Jackson it may not matter for Kizer’s future.
The Browns will shock everyone if they do not select a quarterback with the No. 1 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, which means that Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers will likely be Kizer’s last start for the Browns. A first-round quarterback selected by the current general manager will always be favored over a second-round quarterback selected by the previous general manager.
That may not be fair to Kizer, but it is also the reality of the NFL. Kizer had more than enough opportunity this fall to persuade the Browns that they did not need to draft another quarterback, but a combination of his own shortcomings and Jackson’s incompetence has sealed Kizer’s fate.
Next: Browns and Steelers in Week 17 a familiar sight
It may not be the ending that some saw for Kizer’s time in Cleveland, but it seems like a lock that Kizer will go down in team history as another “what if” story at the quarterback position.