DeShone Kizer under pressure is why Browns fans should want him to start Week 1

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 10: Wide receiver Jordan Payton
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 10: Wide receiver Jordan Payton /

If worries over DeShone Kizer getting rattled against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 want you to keep him glued to the bench, it shouldn’t be.

There’s trepidation among Browns fans about starting DeShone Kizer in Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, because the Dawg Pound’s seen this before.

Images of Colt McCoy being blasted back to Pop Warner ball by James Harrison are still fresh in everyone’s mind. It didn’t help us forget when Cody Kessler got his turn against the Steelers, and tok his share of hits.

Kizer, however, is not McCoy or Kessler. He’s a big, strong armed quarterback capable, who most importantly, displays confidence under pressure.

The analytics bible spoketh, and it deemed DeShone Kizer as the best rookie quarterback under pressure for the first week of the preseason.

That’s right, Pro Football Focus writer Sam Monson called Kizer the “star of the rookie quarterbacks under pressure” of preseason Week 1.

Kizer isn’t Ben Roethlilsberger–yet–but you can see why some compared him to the Steelers Super Bowl winning quarterback.

What’s the biggest concern about Kizer Staring Week 1 in Pittsburgh? It’s that he’ll get rattled.

Based off his play so far, that shouldn’t be a worry.

Look no further than the bombs Kizer threw to Richard Mullaney and Jordan Payton.

Kizer’s pocket presence should make you swoon. He was pressured 13 times on 23 drop backs, but didn’t get rattled. Kizer’s awareness looked so foreign because the player excelling in the trait was wearing an orange helmet.

He wasn’t running sideline-to-sideline, playing school-yard ball, he’s trusted his receivers and his offensive line–all of whom were backups–to give him enough time to make a play. And that’s just what he did.

Counterpoint: A lot to like, but it's too soon to start Kizer

Kizer finished with a 129.2 passer rating under pressure, and was the only rookie field general to post a rating over 100.00. No. 2 overall pick Mitch Trubisky was the most talked about quarterback from Thursday night’s games, posted a 47.2 passer rating. To Trubisky’s credit though, the Mentor High School product displayed great athleticsm, scrambling for 38 yards rushing yards.

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Trubisky was hurried just six times, and competed only two passes. He was hurt by his receivers, who were credited with two drops.

Watson was hurried the most of any of the rookie quarterbacks–16 times. Of those drop backs, he was 7-of-12 for 98 yards and a rating of 84.7. He scrambled three times for 24 yards.

Is Kizer ready to start right now? No. Reports indicate he botched up some verbiage in play calling and at times, he held onto the ball too long.

But Training Camp is still in process and the Browns play three more preseason games.

It won’t be a hard decision for Hue Jackson to make. If he believes Kizer gives him the best chance to win in Pittsburgh, he’ll likely go with his second-round pick.

Jackson can devise a gameplan that will give Kizer a chance. Heck, if he can do it for AJ McCarron, he can do it for someone with the tools such as Kizer. Plus, the Browns will have a running game to lean on, with Isiah Crowell running behind Joe Thomas, Kevin Zeitler and JC Tretter.

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Kizer passed a huge test Thursday, but there are still a few more exams left to come.