BEREA, Ohio -- Every day DeShone Kizer is on the field or does an interview, he shows in ways large and small that he simply “gets it” about the responsibilities of being an NFL quarterback.
Monday, Kizer took responsibility for the bulk of his seven sacks in the Cleveland Browns’ season-opening loss to Pittsburgh, saying it was his fault and he has to get better fast -- like by this weekend.
Wednesday, Kizer talked about facing the Ravens in Baltimore on Sunday. In their opener, the Ravens shut out the Bengals on the road, intercepting Andy Dalton four times and sacking him five times.
How do the Browns counter the Ravens, who many believe have a top-five defense?
“Figure out what they do,” Kizer said.
Kizer also talked about knowing the Ravens' personnel. When it comes to Terrell Suggs, he said he would turn to Joe Thomas, who has kept a voluminous notebook on the players and teams he has faced in his 10-plus seasons in the league.
“I will be able to sit down with him, hopefully after practice today, and really start looking at some of the details of how I can help him and help other guys internally with protections to make sure we have other guys helping him out, whether it is another running back or another hand from an offensive lineman,” Kizer said.
Kizer said that he also has started keeping his own notebook, with details on protections, coverages, plays, players and alignments. He wrote things down before the Steelers game, then updated it afterward.
“It is my job as a quarterback to create the same notebook for myself and understand how defensive coordinators want to play and what their tendencies are and obviously, then, individuals out there, how a corner reacts to certain things, how a defensive lineman likes to rush,” Kizer said.
He also detailed how he spent his first off day on Tuesday, which was part about work and part about keeping perspective in his work.
“Yeah, I got in [the facility] and I got a nice little start on Baltimore,” Kizer said. “I spent a little bit of time game planning myself, just getting ahead of the game as much as I can to prepare for the game plan I was given today.
“With a couple of the free hours I had, I was able to go over to University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital to spend some time there, reset my mind and get my mind back to some things that are going on off the field.”
Kizer's daily alarm goes off at 4:40 a.m., and he’s in the building by 5. Bedtime the night before? Between 8:45 and 9 p.m.
“I do my best work in the morning,” Kizer said.
Kizer is not the first person in the building, though.
“I can’t let him beat me in the building,” coach Hue Jackson said. “He’s here. [Quarterback] coach [David] Lee is here. We’re all here. This is part of the process for him.”
Kizer said the early arrival helps him “try to get ahead on things to make sure that I can go accurately help my team out.”
He was the same at Notre Dame, where he said he would get up at a similar hour to do homework. Often, Kizer said that work would take three or four hours. Now, playing football is his job.
“This young man is really coming on,” Jackson said. “He is getting better. I see him getting better in a lot of different areas, and that is what you look for.
“Now, he has to go play well, play well and consistently week in and week out and give this team a chance to win.”