Jackson: Browns forgoing Watson 'doesn't matter,' hope Kizer starts again in '17
The Browns traded the 12th pick in the draft to the Texans, who drafted Deshaun Watson
The Browns will be in Houston on Sunday to face the Texans. This is noteworthy because the Browns are 0-5 this season and have won just once in their last 23 games going back to 2015. The team also named quarterback Kevin Hogan the starter this week; he replaces rookie second-round pick DeShone Kizer, who struggled through the first five games, completing just 51 percent of his throws with three touchdowns, nine interceptions and two lost fumbles.
Hogan will be the Browns' NFL in 1999.since the team returned to the
Meanwhile, the Texans, who had their own quarterback issues in recent years, traded up in the 2017 NFL Draft to take Deshaun Watson with the 12th overall pick. He entered at halftime of the season opener and has been one of the league's best young players ever since; he's completing 62 percent of his passes with 12 touchdowns and just four interceptions, and he's helped jumpstart an offense that was stuck in neutral with Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage under center.
The Browns, of course, had an opportunity to draft Watson but passed on him -- twice. First with the top pick (they took pass rusher Myles Garrett, the consensus best player in the draft) and again with the 12th pick, which they traded to the Texans. Cleveland waited until the 52nd selection to get Kizer, who was impressive in offseason workouts and the preseason and parlayed that into the starting job heading into the regular season.
But in light of Kizer's recent benching and Watson's success, Browns coach Hue Jackson faced predictable questions this week about any regrets he might have on passing on the Texans' new franchise quarterback.
"It doesn't matter for this reason," Jackson told reporters on Wednesday. "Because whether we did or didn't, that's not the point. The point is we are going to play the Houston Texans in Houston. Here's our football team. We're 0-5 and we're trying to get a football victory, and it doesn't matter. He plays quarterback there. Kevin Hogan is playing quarterback for us this week, and DeShone Kizer is our backup."
While Jackson would prefer to talk about something else -- like, say, the Browns winning a game -- he understands the media second-guessing.
"I totally get it," he said. "What did I tell you guys earlier in the week? You guys can say whatever you like. I get it. I get the second-guessing, the questions, all of that. You guys are entitled to do all of that. DeShone Kizer is on our team; Deshaun Watson is on their team. We can't all of a sudden flip them. So why are we even having this discussion?"
Jackson also thinks Kizer still has a bright NFL future, even if his first bump in the road has landed him on the bench.
"The young man is very talented, very young," Jackson said, via ESPN.com. "In a situation here to where things haven't been great and trying to take the whole world on his shoulders, I understand where he is and what he has been dealing with. At the same time, I know how talented he is and I think we all do. We see that, but what we don't see is playing the game at a high level. I think some of us want him to be a la the top quarterback, echelon quarterback, in this league right now. That doesn't happen in five games. That happens over time. ...
"I feel good about him. I am never going to run from that, because I think the guy has talent and ability. Now, can he make the next jump? We are going to see that in time. He has to be able to do that, so my feelings haven't changed, and they are not going to change."
Asked if Kizer will start again this season, Jackson said, Oh, I sure would hope so. ... At the end of the day, I have to do what I think is best to give our team the best opportunity to win. That is what this is all about. Nothing more, nothing less."
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