Browns' Duke Johnson admits DeShone Kizer's 'confidence is probably shot'

This shouldn't exactly be considered breaking news, but DeShone Kizer's confidence is "shot." That's not coming from a report or a source, that's coming directly from the mouth of a Cleveland Browns player, running back Duke Johnson.

On Wednesday, Johnson provided confirmation of what we all probably already knew.

Here's why that isn't surprising: Kizer is 21 years old, he plays for the 0-14 Browns, he leads the league with 19 interceptions, he's already been benched at multiple points, and the Browns tried to trade for a new quarterback in Bengals backup AJ McCarron -- and would've succeeded in landing him if they didn't botch the paperwork at the trade deadline. If anything, it'd be surprising if Kizer's confidence wasn't shot.

It's easy to blame Kizer for his dreadful rookie year, but it's really head coach Hue Jackson who deserves the majority of the blame, which might be why Johnson didn't include "coaches" in his list of folks who can help Kizer survive a tumultuous rookie season. With his handling of Kizer, Jackson has provided a tutorial of how not to handle the development of a rookie quarterback who is playing on a bad football team. It isn't just about the benchings, though that's certainly a part of it. It's also about his comments.

Take for instance what he said after the Browns lost to the Ravens on Sunday.

"He has some work to do," Jackson said, per "I think that's a fair question if he'll ever get it. I think he will, but he has to keep working."

If you want to know why Kizer's confidence is shot, it probably has something to do with his coach saying, "I think that's a fair question if he'll ever get it."

Kizer, of course, isn't blameless in all of his. He's been undeniably bad, throwing 10 more interceptions than touchdowns and posting a 59.4 passer rating. 

But again, I'm not sure what we expected a 21-year-old rookie second-round pick to do on a football team that has won one game since the beginning of last season. He was always going to struggle. When Jackson named Kizer his starting quarterback before the season, he appeared to demonstrate that he understood that while Kizer would struggle in 2017, it was important for his development to garner experience immediately. Instead, Jackson appears to have hampered Kizer's development by repeatedly sending messages -- by benching him repeatedly, trying to trade for a career backup quarterback, and making comments like the one above -- that he's not good enough.

Of course Kizer's confidence is shot. It was shot by Jackson.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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