BEREA — Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer tried to balance the disappointment of not being chosen the starter for the preseason opener Thursday night with his appreciation of the big picture.
“I’m a competitor. It’s my ultimate goal to be out there playing,” he said Monday after coach Hue Jackson named Brock Osweiler the starter against the Saints. Cody Kessler will play second, followed by Kizer. “We put in a lot of work to do what we do and I’d love to be the guy who’s stepping out there as the starting guy, but until then, this is still part of the process.
“We’ve been able to obviously have a certain path they want me to take. Coach Jackson’s been pushing me along that path and moving me at the pace that I think is acceptable at the time and hopefully one day I will be the guy to step out there on gameday as the first guy to take reps. But for now, it’s about just maximizing the opportunities that are given to me.”
Kizer, the No. 52 pick out of Notre Dame, could still be the guy when the games count. Jackson will continue to re-evaluate the depth chart at the position and said it could change following Thursday.
“I don’t think anything’s really over right now,” Jackson said. “DeShone is progressing.”
Inconsistency has been an issue for Kizer and it cropped up in the red zone Friday during the Orange and Brown Scrimmage.
“A lot of room for improvement, a lot of room to take my game to the next level,” he said of what he saw on the film. “A guy who’s looking to learn as much as I possibly can, a guy who has some consistency things that I need to clean up. There’s still a lot of work for me to do before I become the quarterback that I want to become one day.”
Kizer called an overthrow to running back Duke Johnson on the goal line Friday “unacceptable.” But he said he’s not disappointed in his overall accuracy and believes he’s getting better.
“That’s always going to be No. 1,” he said. “This game doesn’t work at the quarterback position if you can’t put the ball on the receiver.”
Second-year linebacker Joe Schobert has life a little easier physically this year. Instead of playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, he gets to play in a 4-3.
“Compared to what I was doing last year, it would be more like I was a D-end in this defense,” he said. “Definitely glad to be off the ball, behind the line, being able to run the plays down rather than taking on (right tackle) Shon Coleman in the run game every day.”
Schobert is the second-team middle linebacker and is pushing veteran Tank Carder for the starting job. He had an interception of Kessler on Monday.
“I get a chance to run around a lot more this year and make some checks, call the defense, it’s a little more responsibility and it’s been good,” Schobert said.
The first unofficial depth chart was released and included a few noteworthy items. Rookie Myles Garrett was listed as the starter at right defensive end, Desmond Bryant at defensive tackle, Shon Coleman at right tackle and Randall Telfer at tight end ahead of Seth DeValve and David Njoku.
“Randall is a blocker. Randall can get after you that way,” said Jackson, adding he’ll use several personnel packages involving a variety of tight ends.
Rookie Jabrill Peppers, the No. 25 pick, was listed as a second-team safety behind Ibraheim Campbell and Derrick Kindred. Peppers is first at kickoff return and punt return.
Linebacker Christian Kirksey (knee) and receiver Jordan Leslie (evaluated for a concussion) returned to practice after surviving injury scares over the weekend.
** Safety Ed Reynolds (knee), rookie defensive tackle Caleb Brantley (finger), offensive lineman Gabe Ikard (concussion) and defensive back Marcus Burley (face laceration) remained sidelined.
** Cody Parkey went 5-for-5 in the field goal competition to end practice, with a long of 54. Rookie Zane Gonzalez was 4-for-5, with the miss wide left from 33 yards.