Rookie DeShone Kizer will start at QB for Browns in season opener vs. Steelers

Jackson says Kizer is starting QB (0:35)

Hue Jackson says he saw bright spots in DeShone Kizer's first preseason start and he is the Browns' starting QB moving forward. (0:35)

Rookie DeShone Kizer will start at quarterback for the Cleveland Browns in the season opener against Pittsburgh, coach Hue Jackson announced on Sunday.

"He's earned the right to play through his preparation. He's established a work ethic that has earned the respect of his teammates," Jackson said in a conference call Sunday.

Jackson named Kizer the starter after watching him play the first half against Tampa Bay on Saturday night. The coach saw positives in Kizer's work despite some not-so-good numbers.

"He still has a lot to learn," Jackson said. "He's going to learn a lot and gain a lot of experience and the only way you get that is by playing. And we're all excited about that."

Kizer completed 6 of 18 passes for 93 yards with an interception against the Bucs, but Jackson liked the way Kizer handled himself and said he was hurt by poor field position, a dropped pass and turnovers. Jackson made it clear that the decision to start Kizer is for the long term, and the Browns will stay with him through his rookie struggles.

"This is not just for the moment," Jackson said. "We're going to get with DeShone and ride him through it all and work with him through all this. You said it, those things are going to happen. And I think we get that. I think he gets that. We're not going to blink about it. We're just going to correct it and keep moving forward."

Kizer beat out Brock Osweiler and Cody Kessler to earn the job. He will be the first rookie to start the opener for the Browns since Brandon Weeden in 2012.

He also will be the fifth different opening day starter in the past five seasons -- Weeden, Brian Hoyer, Josh McCown and Robert Griffin III preceded him -- and the 27th starting quarterback for the Browns since Cleveland got a team back in 1999 after being without one for three seasons.

"I think we all dove into this the right way to go find a guy that hopefully can solve our quarterback issue," Jackson said. "Again, it's not over with yet. This guy's been named the starter, but he still has to earn the right to be the starting quarterback for this team week in and week out. I think he gets that. But he has the talent, he has the makeup, he has the things that we're looking for."