It seems that this is the question on everyone’s lips right now – well, on the lips of the few that give a shit, anyway. Most people have just put it down to the Browns being the Browns and ruining another QB’s career.
Right now it’s hard not to follow the crowd and say that they might be right in that the Browns could have ruined another young QB by giving him the role of being the face of the organisation and the responsibility of leading the team, including all its veterans, at the tender age of 21. Not only did they do that but they then yanked him from that role after 4.5 games.
Personally, I think it’s way too early to say they’ve ruined him, as I believe it was the right thing to do by getting him out of the hot seat and replacing him with Kevin Hogan. If Kizer was honest and allowed to say what he really feels without facing a backlash from the media and social media, I think he’d agree and admit that he’s relieved about the situation.
I so desperately want Kizer to be the guy in Cleveland, just so the team can spend all those draft picks on other positions rather than bloody QB for once, but after watching him in the preseason and through the early regular season, it’s hard to see that he will be. I know it’s early in his career and he hasn’t been given enough of a chance, as some would say, but he’s clearly not ready to be in the situation he’s been put in – that, in my opinion, is on Hue Jackson and his coaching staff/advisors.
As usual, the QB situation in Cleveland was a desperate one and so Hue didn’t really have a great deal of choice. He assessed the QB’s he had during training camp and the preseason and saw that Kizer was the best option at that time. Brock Osweiler was awful during the preseason, Cody Kessler seemed to have a meltdown after being given the opportunity to be the #1 guy and Kevin Hogan never really got a look-in. Hindsight says that it was a mistake to let Josh McCown go now that the team has a better pass-blocking offensive line.
What Should the Browns Do
For me, it’s obvious what the Browns should do to get out of this downward spiral, and that is they should sit DeShone Kizer for a few weeks.
When I say a few weeks I think it should be 3-5 weeks and let Kevin Hogan take the reins and all the flak that will go with it. Although I’m calling for Kevin Hogan to be given a chance as the starter for Cleveland, I don’t think he’s the future of the franchise by any means. I think he’s a good backup but not franchise QB-calibre.
I just feel that Kizer needs to have the pressure taken off his shoulders as I don’t feel like he’s at all ready to have it on him. I think he should be allowed to get used to the whole NFL environment and the pace of it all so that he feels more comfortable in it. Right now I can imagine it’s all a blur as he’s got too much on and he’s struggling to keep his head above water.
If he sits for three weeks, that would give him four weeks to acclimatise more and get his confidence back as they have their bye week after the London game against the Minnesota Vikings. After the bye week, the team should reassess things with Kizer and see how Hogan is performing as the starter. If Hogan is doing well, I’d say keep him in there for another couple of weeks, but if he’s sucking then get Kizer back in. At some stage, Kizer has to come back in and if it were after the next 3-5 games that would give him 6-8 games to prove himself and let the coaching staff get a final evaluation of him before deciding whether or not to use yet another high draft pick on a QB (although I believe Kirk Cousins will be available and not be wanting to stick around in Washington – that would be awesome as it would allow the team to spend picks on getting him targets to throw to……..I can dream, can’t I?).
Why Hogan Should Start
I do believe Kevin Hogan has earned the right to start at the QB position for the Browns and I really do think it will be of benefit to Kizer and I think he thinks that deep down as well.
DeShone Kizer has been in on 288 total snaps and has struggled in the passing game and is running at a 49.5 QB rating so far – that’s awful. Kevin Hogan has been in on 67 total snaps and has a rating of 104.8, which is good and he’s completed 68.4% of his passes compared to 50.9 for Kizer. Both QB’s can run the ball as they have both proven so, unlike the ill-prepared national commentators at the Browns-Jets game, I see that you lose absolutely nothing on the QB mobility side of things by replacing Kizer with Hogan. Kizer has a running average of 4.5 yards per carry and 2TD’s and Hogan has an average of 7.0 yards per carry but no TD’s as yet.
People will say that Hogan has had the easier job as teams haven’t watched film on him and prepped for him unlike Kizer, and that may be so, but when Hogan is moving the offence much more easily and the receivers are looking better with him in there with his more accurate throws and better vision, surely he’s earned the chance to start? If he starts and he sucks then we know his success was purely because teams hadn’t game-planned for him. Either way, I see it as a win-win for Kizer as he gets to take a step back and have the pressure taken off his young shoulders for a while.
The offence just looks better with Hogan in there spreading the ball around to different receivers who are actually catching the passes and scoring touchdowns. Kizer has been sacked 12 times, which isn’t the worst in the league (19 times for Carson Palmer and Aaron Rodgers) but many of them could have been avoided if he’d had the confidence to throw the ball. I’m not sure he realises he’s going to have to throw it into tighter windows in the NFL and that’s what his strong arm is for.
As a fan watching on TV, I don’t get to see what is going on a lot of the time in the secondary, as the play develops, so maybe the receivers aren’t open but what he regards as open and what the NFL regards as open could be completely different and that’s the impression I get.
Just watching him you can see that he’s holding onto the ball for far too long even though the offensive line has been doing a great job keeping him clean for a relatively long time on plays, he needs to learn to act/react quicker in the pocket. This is one of the things I think he needs to take a step back for and see how it’s done – part of the acclimatising to the NFL and confidence building.
To wrap up, the reason I think Kevin Hogan should start for the next few weeks of the NFL regular season isn’t that I think he’s the future of the franchise, but rather because he’s clearly the best they have at that position. Right now, I’d even start Cody Kessler over DeShone Kizer as anything is better than what we’ve been seeing recently.
Neither Hogan nor Kessler are the future at QB for the Cleveland Browns but right now they are the best they have (what a depressing thought). I’m intrigued to see Hogan take the reins and see what he can do from the start of the next few games. With him in there making quicker decisions and releasing the ball quicker, I’ve seen the offence actually look decent as the receivers seem to make better plays when he’s throwing the ball to them. Why that is is for someone more advanced in game mechanics and knowledge than I to assess but, as a fan, that’s what I see and want to see more of.
What I also want to see is Kizer come back in later in the season, after he’s had time to soak everything up that’s around him, so that the franchise can make better decisions during the offseason.
So, to answer my own question of, Is DeShone Kizer the Future in Cleveland? Right now, I really don’t know, but I do know that things aren’t looking good. Having said that, though, we fans have to remember that we are at the beginning of a ground-up rebuild and so should expect some very difficult times during the next few seasons – we should be used to them by now.
Perhaps another question that should be being asked is, Who’s to Blame for the Current Winless Record of the Browns, DeShone Kizer, Hue Jackson or Sashi Brown? I have my thoughts on that one, but I’ll save you from more of my wafflings for another post at a later date.
So, what do you think, is Kizer the future QB of the Cleveland Browns or is he just another young QB destined for the scrap heap thanks to the Browns? Let us know in the comments below.