Browns bench rookie QB DeShone Kizer, won't reveal next week's starter

CLEVELAND -- Browns coach Hue Jackson benched quarterback DeShone Kizer for Kevin Hogan in Sunday's loss to the New York Jets then declined to say who would start next Sunday's game in Houston.

"It is still about winning," Jackson said after the 17-14 loss that dropped the Browns to 0-5. "Kizer is developing, but his job is still to win. That is first and foremost. I didn't think it was going in the right direction. That is why I made the decision to take him out. If that was the case and it was just about development, I would have just left him in. It is not about that. It is about winning."

Jackson said he would decide next week's starter after watching the tape.

"I look forward to doing whatever I can to get better so I do not have to sit out," Kizer said.

Kizer was benched after a first half in which he was involved in two red zone turnovers, one a fumble on a pitch to Isaiah Crowell and the other an interception at the goal line on a third-down pass to Seth DeValve. Kizer went 8-for-17 for 87 yards.

The turnovers were the fourth and fifth for the Browns in the red zone this season, an NFL high. Kizer has thrown four interceptions in the red zone, also an NFL high.

The move still was surprising in that Jackson had insisted he would stick with the rookie through the ups and downs when he named Kizer the starter.

Jackson had praised Kizer's play in a loss to Indianapolis Colts and said that aside from a couple of errors, he was "lights out" in a 31-7 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

"We were going through those trials, and then when you keep looking, you say, 'Hey, look, you might need to do something different here,'" Jackson said. "That is the decision I made. To me, it might have given us a chance to win the game. We just didn't finish it."

"Frustrated for sure," Kizer said of his feelings. "My job as a quarterback here is to do whatever I can to help win. And it's tough to do that when I'm not in the game for poor performance."

Hogan guided the Browns to a touchdown on his first possession -- giving the Cleveland its first lead of the season. He also had the Browns at the Jets' 4-yard line early in the fourth quarter when they were down three.

After sending out the field goal team, Jackson used a timeout and called for a Crowell run behind guard Kevin Zeitler, whom the Browns made the highest-paid guard in the NFL during the offseason. The Jets stuffed the play then drove 97 yards for a touchdown.

Hogan's second score came with 1:49 left. He finished 16-for-19 for 194 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception.

Kizer's first turnover came in the first quarter on third-and-goal from the 3. He audibled to an option, something the Browns had practiced all week, but Crowell did not handle the pitch and the Jets recovered.

"It was a perfect look to pitch the ball to allow Crow to go to the pylon," said Kizer, who added, "I pitched the ball to him, and he did not catch the ball."

The interception also came on third down, this time from the 4.

"The safety [Marcus Maye] undercut an out route," Kizer said. "I did not see him, and I put the ball in harm's way."

Jackson said Kizer could have recognized the Jets' zone defense and would have been happy had the quarterback thrown the ball away.

"Sometimes young guys, it is not going as well for them and that is my job," Jackson said. "Sometimes taking him off and letting him see and breathe a little bit is good, and I think that is what he did."

Hogan and Kizer now await Jackson's decision.

"Right now, I am just doing what I can to get better and help this team get a win," Hogan said.

Said Kizer: "You go back, you learn from it. You do whatever you can to be a better player."