BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – While there is hope that DeShone Kizer may be the long lost answer at quarterback for the Browns, one thing is clear: the rookie from Notre Dame is in good hands.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh praised Browns head coach Hue Jackson on Wednesday during a conference call with Cleveland reporters about his ability to develop quarterbacks.
“We have a lot of respect for Hue Jackson,” Harbaugh said. “Hue had Joe [Flacco] as a rookie, had [Bengals QB] Andy Dalton as a rookie. Nobody has more knowledge or has had more success with developing rookie quarterbacks than Hue Jackson has had as a coach. We have seen it firsthand. That is what we expect from DeShone Kizer.”
Flacco led the Ravens to a victory in Super Bowl XLVII and was named the game’s MVP. His 94 wins are the third-most in the NFL and his 10 playoff victories are the second-most in the league since 2008 while Dalton is a 3-time pro bowler for Cincinnati.
Jackson is confident that Kizer will develop into the third star within the division thanks to his tutelage.
“Well, I hope so,” Jackson said. “Joe has gone on and has obviously become one of the elite quarterbacks in the league – won a Super Bowl, has great status in the league. Here’s a young guy who’s trying to acquire some of the things Joe has had happen for him in his career. Again, the blueprint for me of bringing Joe along, there are some things there I might use for DeShone. But again, as we all know, some players are different. Some guys react to things differently. So, I’ll use what works for DeShone the best. But, I will take some things that I used with Joe.”
Kizer had a solid debut Sunday in a 21-18 loss to the Steelers that saw him complete 20 of 30 passes for 22 yards with a touchdown, interception and rating of 85.7. Kizer, who was sacked 7 times, also ran for a score.
Flacco didn’t see any of Kizer’s debut and hasn’t paid it much attention as he prepares to face the Browns Sunday in Baltimore but he remembers Jackson and the help he received from him his rookie year back in 2008.
“He was a part of a good team we had here early in my career,” Flacco said. “He was a very emotional guy and gets you ready to play in a very confident way. He allows you to go out there and play fast, and free, and wants you to go out there and play with emotion and let it all go. I think that his coaching style and his offensive philosophy allows the quarterback to do that.”
Earlier this week Jackson said that Kizer gives the Browns, who have now started 27 different quarterbacks since 1999, “hope” for the future but he’s getting a crash course in the NFL by facing the Steelers in Week 1 and now the Ravens in Week 2.
“Welcome to the NFL. Welcome to the AFC North,” Kizer said. “This is what we signed up for when Cleveland decided to bring me in here. I have been doing a lot of preparation up to these games to try and learn as much as I can about this division and schematically what teams like to do. Now, going against Baltimore and Pittsburgh, I will learn quickly what it takes to win in this [division].”
Baltimore’s defense picked Dalton off 4 times and sacked him 5 times in their 20-0 shutout of the Bengals Sunday in Cincinnati and Kizer can expect to face much of the same pressure this week.
The good news for him is he has Jackson to prepare him.