DeShone Kizer: Failed AJ McCarron trade means 'I need to step my game up'

There's nothing like a little competition to get you refocused on your job. And there's nothing like occasional reminders of what your employers think of you to keep you humble and hungry. For rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer, that came last week in the form of the Browns' botched attempt to trade for Bengals backup AJ McCarron.

Because these are the Browns, even though they agreed to trade a second- and third-round pick to Cincinnati for McCarron, they still found a way to flub the deal. Which meant McCarron remained Andy Dalton's backup. And Kizer returned to work knowing that the higher-ups were convinced that someone who hadn't thrown a regular-season pass in two years gave the Browns a better chance of winning a game this calendar year.

But Kizer didn't take it that way.

"It's part of this business," he said Wednesday, via Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot. "That has absolutely nothing to do with my development and where this team stands. It's just another way of letting me know that I need to step my game up, knowing that I have another opportunity this week to be the starting quarterback here. I look forward to going out and proving myself."

It'll be Kizer's latest opportunity to prove that he deserves to be the Browns' starting quarterback. He began the season atop the depth chart, but increasingly poor play landed him on the bench in Week 6. He started in Week 7 but was pulled in that game too. Kizer was the Week 8 starter and he'll be under center when the team returns from its bye to face the Lions on Sunday.

So did the trade talk motivate Kizer, who has thrown three touchdowns and 11 interceptions this season?

"I have 10,000 reasons to be motivated to go out and play better. ... I've been getting better each week, and I look forward to coming out here after a nice bye week and preparing myself to go out there and have my best game yet," he said.

Meanwhile, some Browns coaches believe V.P. of football operations Sashi Brown intentionally scuttled the McCarron trade, and on Monday coach Hue Jackson didn't sound like he wanted to dwell on the hows and whys of what happened.

"I am not going to take any questions about anything that happened here last week. You may try; I am not going to answer, I am going to be very honest with you."

By Wednesday, Jackson conceded that he had addressed the trade-that-wasn't with Kizer, but only in passing.

"I'm always very honest with our players," Jackson said. "I don't sugarcoat anything. At the end of the day, the most important thing is nothing changed so here we go. I don't want players worried about those things anyways. You have a job to do and that's all you can control. You have to let everything else take care of itself."

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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