Five games into the rookie quarterbacks’ careers, it sounds like the Cleveland Browns are already kicking themselves for passing on the odds-on favorite for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award on the path to stardom.
“I totally get it,” head coach Hue Jackson said on Wednesday in response to questions about Watson, the Houston Texans QB he’ll be facing on Sunday. “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 and all of that. You 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 having this discussion?”
Kizer leads the NFL with nine interceptions and has thrown just three touchdowns and completed 50.9 percent of his passes.
Kevin Hogan, who, because he plays for the Browns, has managed to appear in seven games without starting in any of them through his first two seasons in the league, will get the start on Sunday. He’ll be the 28th Browns starter since 1999.
The Browns had the opportunity to draft Watson with the 12th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, but ended up striking yet another pick-laden deal with the Houston Texans, who used the pick on the reigning national champion out of Clemson. Cleveland picked Kizer in the second round with the 52nd overall pick.
Jackson would not say whether he lobbied for the selection of Watson with No. 12.
“It doesn’t matter,” the head coach said, according to ProFootballTalk. “He is in Houston. It doesn’t matter for this reason: Whether we did or didn’t, that is not the point. The point is we are getting ready to play the Houston Texans in Houston. Here is our football team. We are 0-5, and we are trying to go get a football victory. It doesn’t matter. He plays quarterback there. Kevin Hogan is playing quarterback for us this week, and DeShone Kizer is backing him up…. I understand how you guys feel, but to me, to go down that road and talk about this, that, what should have been and what could have been, that doesn’t do anything for anybody.”
The Browns also held the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, meaning they passed on Watson twice.
So far the player Cleveland selected with the first pick is working out, though.