BEREA, Ohio -- DeShone Kizer was well aware the Cleveland Browns came within a minute of completing a trade for Bengals backup quarterback A.J. McCarron.
Kizer took it as a challenge -- knowing full well that had McCarron joined the Browns, Kizer would have become the backup.
“It is just another way of letting me know that I need to step my game up,” Kizer said Wednesday.
Kizer will start Sunday in Detroit for the winless Browns, and he does so with eight games ahead of him to show he’s grown as the season has progressed. He said he did not see a reason the team had to talk to him and explain the potential trade.
“I’m the starting quarterback this week, and I’m looking forward to continuing to grow, develop and become a better quarterback each time I step out on the field,” he said.
Kizer’s season has been rough. He ranks 32nd in the league in two key statstics: 52.1 completion percentage and 5.37 yards per attempt. He is tied for the league lead with Cam Newton with 11 interceptions, in 68 fewer attempts than Newton. He’s been yanked from games twice, and benched once.
Kizer was asked if the potential trade would motivate him.
“If you can be motivated any more,” he said. “I have 10,000 reasons to be motivated to go out and play better. Two being the two times I’ve been benched. Once again, I have 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.”
Kizer knows he has eight games to prove the Browns should not use a high draft pick on a quarterback next spring.
“When you are in a position where you are 0-8, when you are on a club that hasn’t been winning in the recent past and hasn’t had a solid quarterback in a long time, you have to prove that every time you step out there,” Kizer said. “It is going to take a lot for a guy to hold on to this position for a while, and that is why you have seen so many guys who haven’t been able to hold on to it.
"There is definitely a chip on my shoulder to go out there and continue to represent myself and this team as best as I can and do whatever I can to be the quarterback here for a long time.”