BEREA — Coach Hue Jackson has some advice for Browns fans when charting the progress of rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer: Buckle up and settle down.
“This guy has played two games in the National Football League and we act like he should be playing like Brett Favre or something,” Jackson said Thursday. “That is not going to happen. There are going to be dips sometimes, there is going to be a big high sometimes. I need to get him to play consistently over a period of time so our football team and our offense can play consistently.”
Jackson started his speech when asked if Kizer will get rid of the ball quicker the more experience he gets. He wanted to get something off his chest.
“I think this guy has what it takes,” he continued. “He is growing every day. He grew even through the negative last week. It’s not fun, but he is learning. He is learning that you guys are going to crucify him when things aren’t going well and he understands you guys are going to praise him when things do go well. That is part of it.
“Do I like going through it? No. But I also like having a quarterback that we all feel comfortable with that potentially could be the guy for years to come in this organization. We are going to ride with him through the good and the bad because I think he has what it takes.”
Kizer impressed in the opener, going 20-for-30 for 222 yards with a touchdown, a rushing touchdown, an interception, seven sacks and an 85.7 rating. He wasn’t nearly as sharp against the Ravens on Sunday, going 15-for-31 for 182 yards, three interceptions, a fumble, two sacks and a 27.4 rating.
When pressed, Jackson backed off the “crucified” description.
“That’s probably strong. I’m sorry. That’s not fair. He hasn’t been crucified,” he said. “Sometimes when you have a good game, we start to build him up a little bit. Then, all of a sudden, it’s a high and here comes a low. He didn’t play as well.
“This guy is still the same guy. Like many rookies, I can name many guys in this league who have thrown three interceptions in a game, four interceptions in a game and came back the next week and played their tails off.”
Jackson wants reasonable expectations, and for everyone to understand everything on Kizer’s plate.
“Let’s be honest, let’s think about where this young man has come from and what he is doing,” Jackson said. “He is playing with a bunch of men. He’s 21 years old. He is leading an organization that hasn’t been what it needs to be. He’s trying to uplift everything. There is a lot of pressure.
“He is trying to play at a peak level. He is trying to learn this offense, learn the language, adjust to some of the better defenses in the National Football League in the last two weeks, and then score points and throw the ball to guys that he hasn’t thrown the ball to every day. That is hard. That is not an excuse. That is a fact. I think he is handling it extremely well. He doesn’t run from the mistakes, he doesn’t run from the things he needs to do better.”
JUST A GLIMPSE
No. 1 pick Myles Garrett (high ankle sprain) didn’t practice again Thursday and isn’t expected to play Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. But the rookie defensive end continues to show signs of improvement and may attempt to return Oct. 1 against the Bengals.
“We are getting closer,” said Jackson, who added Garrett has begun running. “He has done everything he can do, and then some, trying to make sure that he can hurry up and get back. At the same time, we are going to be smart about it and make sure that everything is good to go, so that when he is ready to go, that he is really ready to go.”
Garrett spent the part of practice open to reporters working on the pull-down machine. He has been out since suffering the injury Sept. 6 in practice.
The final decision on his availability for Sunday will be made Friday.
** Outside linebacker Jamie Collins (concussion) is also likely to miss the Colts game although Jackson hasn’t ruled him out. He hasn’t practiced this week and remained in the concussion protocol.
** Receiver Sammie Coates (hamstring) didn’t practice.
Left tackle Joe Thomas wore a yellow T-shirt with a mushroom and C.O.O.L. on the front. It stands for “coaches of offensive line” and was given to him by new line coach Bob Wylie, who runs a large summer clinic.
As for the mushroom …
“As offensive linemen, we consider ourselves mushrooms because we get thrown in the corner of a dark room and people pile poop on us and then expect us to grow,” Thomas said.
CLOSING IN ON HISTORY
Colts running back Frank Gore could move up in the record books with a big day against the Browns.
With eight carries, he’ll pass Eric Dickerson (2,996) for ninth on the NFL’s all-time list.
With 107 rushing yards, he’ll pass Dickerson (13,259) for seventh.
With a rushing touchdown, he’ll tie Pete Johnson (76) for 22nd.
With a 100-yard rushing day, he’ll tie O.J. Simpson (42) for 16th in 100-yard games.
Gore, 34, was a third-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 2005.
“He has proven everybody wrong,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said on a conference call. “I think there have been people his entire life that have just told him you can’t and you won’t, and all he has done is prove everybody wrong. He has overcome adversity, circumstances and injuries and to be where he is at is a testament to his grit, his intestinal fortitude and his resolve.
“He is a talented, talented guy. He is a tough son of a gun, and a great, great competitor. Hall of Famer, man!”
Gore tops active running backs with 98 consecutive games played and 94 straight starts. Cleveland’s Isaiah Crowell is second with 50 straight games and third with 19 straight starts.
Jackson said he doesn’t plan to keep a third quarterback active on gameday despite Kizer having to leave for a quarter against the Ravens with a migraine. Kizer and the team’s medical staff believe the episodes are sporadic enough that it won’t happen again this season.
** Defensive backs Reggie Porter and C.J. Smith got their initiation to the defense before practice with 40 up-downs in the middle of a circle of defensive players.
“Now they’re part of the family,” linebacker James Burgess said.
** Peppers wore a sparkly necklace of a helmet during his interview and was asked if the crystals are diamonds.
“No, it was $50,” he said. “It looks real, don’t it? It definitely looks real.”