Drop-back: Browns rookie QB Kizer benched in second half
By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) — Swapping his helmet for a baseball cap, DeShone Kizer stood on the sideline and watched.
There was nothing else to do.
Benched by coach Hue Jackson for being ineffective, Kizer sat out the second half of Cleveland’s 17-14 loss on Sunday to the New York Jets and may have lost his job to Kevin Hogan.
Kizer threw an interception in the first half, when he also checked out of a play that turned into a critical turnover as the Browns (0-5) dropped to 1-20 in two seasons under Jackson.
Following the game, a disappointed and frustrated Kizer offered no excuses and promised to grow from his sudden demotion, which came a week after Jackson said he played “lights out” in a loss to Cincinnati and despite unwavering support from the moment the second-round pick from Notre Dame was named Cleveland’s starter during training camp.
Kizer finished 8 of 17 for 87 yards and the interception, which came when he didn’t see rookie safety Marcus Maye who cut in front of tight end Seth DeValve and made the pick at the 2-yard line.
“This is all new to me,” Kizer said. “Being 0-5 is new to me. Being in the NFL is new to me. I just am trying to do whatever I can to continue to represent my team and my organization the best way I possibly can and continue to work as hard as I possibly can to become a better player to experience some success in this league. This organization and this city deserves wins.
“It is on me as the quarterback of this team to do whatever I can to help us get some wins.”
Jackson said the decision to sit Kizer was based on his feeling that Hogan, who finished 16 of 19 for 194 yards and two touchdowns, gave the Browns a better chance to win.
While some of Jackson’s decisions — he opted to go on fourth down at New York’s 4-yard line instead of kicking a tying field goal in the fourth quarter can be questioned, the move with Kizer seemed sound.
“That is the decision I made,” Jackson said. “To me, it might have given us a chance to win the game. We just didn’t finish it.”
As for next week’s game at Houston, Jackson wants to watch game film before deciding whether to stick with Hogan or go back to Kizer, who leads the league with nine interceptions.
“Let’s watch the tape and see where we are, but again, we weren’t functioning as well as I thought we could on offense,” Jackson said. “I thought Kevin came in and did some good things. Obviously, Kevin did some really good things.”
Kizer said he’ll respect whatever Jackson decides to do.
“I expect to come back and learn from my mistakes from this game, do whatever I can to become a better player and let those decisions be in the head coach’s hands as they always have been,” he said.
Hogan was Cleveland’s forgotten No. 4 quarterback in training camp, but he’s not only managed to hang around, the 25-year-old, who began last season on the team’s practice squad, could be the Browns short-term answer this season.
Hogan isn’t focused on his playing status or starting.
“Right now, I am just doing what I can to get better and help this team get a win. I am not worrying about that,” he said. “This whole season, I have only focused on what I can control. I think that I would do the team a disservice if I were worrying about outside things. My goal leading up to this week is just going to be the same routine, making sure I get my preparation in and do what I am supposed to do to do my job for these guys.”
Kizer expected some bumps during his first pro season. There were certain to be good days, bad ones and moments of doubt.
But despite this setback, Kizer said his confidence hasn’t been shaken.
“I am not rattled by much,” he said. “I know that in this game, it takes a lot to win and it takes a lot to have success. I look forward to doing whatever I can to win more and have more success.”
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