Opinion: Kizer’s not perfect, but we must support him

Jack Kopanski

Jack Kopanski

Break out the masking tape again, and tack on another slot to the infamous Cleveland Browns quarterback jersey that lists the starting quarterbacks the team has had since 1999.

Twenty-six have come before DeShone Kizer, but he wants to put the stigma of being a quarterback in Cleveland to bed.

One day after starting Cleveland’s third preseason game on Saturday, the team announced that Kizer had won the regular season starting job. He beat out veteran signal-caller Brock Osweiler, as well as the incumbent Cody Kessler.

To say Kizer “won” the job this preseason is a bit of an overstatement. He looked the best of the three quarterbacks in contention for the job, but as a rookie, his talent is still raw. If either Osweiler or Kessler performed to their potential, the job would very likely have been one of theirs.

Yet, Kessler was an extreme disappointment from last season where he had flashes of potential. Osweiler was never anything more than a way to get a free second-round pick from the Texans in exchange for taking on his enormous contract, so expectations should have been immediately tempered.

While the majority of Kizer’s snaps came against second- and third-team defenses, Coach Hue Jackson would’ve been a fool not to go with the rookie to start the season.

Is he ready to go up against a juggernaut like Pittsburgh in Week 1? No.

Will there be a learning curve? Definitely.

Would you like fries with that? … Sorry, I caught a glimpse of Osweiler’s future.

The most important thing that this organization and fanbase can do for Kizer is support him 100 percent. He should be allowed to be a rookie and make mistakes. Pulling him or booing him off the field after a three-interception game will destroy any confidence he’d garnered. 

I hate to break it to you fellow Browns fans, but we’re kind of the worst as far as wanting a rookie to be perfect from the get-go. He is working with a coach known for getting the best out of quarterbacks. If Hue trusts him, we need to let that process happen in its own time.

If you had told me eight months ago this was how I would be talking about DeShone Kizer, I would have laughed you out of the building. Needless to say, he proved me and many others wrong, showing that he is ready and willing to do what he needs to do to become a starter in the NFL.

Since he is the man for at least 2017, let him have the space and time he needs to become that “AFC North” quarterback that #NFLTwitter proclaims him to be.

Next year, if the front office decides that it’s best to move in a different direction, Cleveland has no shortage of draft picks to move around and get the man they want behind center.

You see what’s going on here, Cleveland fans? This is what a proper rebuild looks like.

Jack Kopanski is a general assigning editor. Contact him at [email protected].