The Cleveland Browns started veteran Brock Osweiler in their preseason opener Thursday night against the New Orleans Saints. He was followed in line by second-year quarterback Cody Kessler before rookie second-round pick DeShone Kizer got his first opportunity in an NFL game.
It's interesting in that there was a lot of buzz about Kizer potentially starting the first game leading up to Thursday's action. But struggles in training camp leading up to the game pushed him to No. 3 status.
Those struggles obviously didn't extent to the first live-game action of the Notre Dame product's professional career. Kizer would go on to complete 11-of-18 passes for 184 yards and a touchdown. He also didn't throw a single pick in the game.
Kizer's first NFL appearance was capped off by a game-winning 45-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Payton with less than two minutes remaining in the game to give Cleveland a 20-14 victory. It was really a thing of beauty.
As with what we see in Chicago, Kizer's performance was magnified a bit by how poorly both Osweiler and Kessler played before he got into the game. Cleveland's "top-two" quarterbacks completed just 11-of-24 passes for 89 yards en route to leading the Browns to seven points in as many possessions. Kizer would go on to lead the Browns to 13 points in a half of action.
Considering head coach Hue Jackson might be facing pressure to start Kizer out of the gate, it will be interesting to see if he gives the former Golden Domer an opportunity to go up against No. 1 defenses from here on out. Coming off a one-win season there's no real reason to believe he won't do just that.