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DeShone Kizer named Browns starting quarterback

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The quarterback competition in Berea is over, and DeShone Kizer has been declared the victor.

Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson named Kizer the starting quarterback in a conference call on Sunday.

One day after earning his first preseason start, Kizer has been given the role permanently, starting with Cleveland's Week 1 tilt with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The first-year gunslinger out of Notre Dame established a rapport Saturday night with Cleveland's first-team weapons, namely second-year wideout Corey Coleman. Though Kizer finished 6-of-18 passing for 93 yards with one interception, or what Around The NFL colleague Nick Shook called "one of the more misleading stat lines you'll see this preseason," he impressed the coach who drafted him.

During Sunday's announcement, Jackson mused about his starter's pocket presence and Kizer's ability to redirect protections, among other things.

"He's earned the right to play through his preparation," Jackson told reporters. "He's established a work ethic that I think has earned the respect of his teammates. I think it will afford him the ability to lead the offense as we move forward, which hopefully will lead to success.

"It's been good to watch his development throughout the offseason. Obviously he's a young quarterback, and he still has a lot to learn. He's going to learn a lot and gain a lot of experience and the only way you get that is by playing. We're all excited about that."

Kizer will be the first Browns rookie to start the season under center since Brandon Weeden in 2012.

The ascension of Kizer means Brock Osweiler, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan will play backup until further notice. After earning the first two starts of the preseason, Osweiler has rumored to be on the trade block and could be a cut-day casualty if no swap transpires. The former Texans quarterback's absurd $16 million salary will be a hurdle to moving him. Kessler and Hogan should be viable backups for the Browns, who don't exactly expect to contend for the division title this season.

In the short term, starting Kizer allows Cleveland to throw the rookie head first into the deep end of the pool -- against division rivals Pittsburgh and Baltimore in consecutive weeks -- and let him sink or swim.

This moves also accelerates the evaluation process at the QB position. With a top-heavy QB class lurking in the 2018 draft, Cleveland has to decide by the end of this season what they have in the signal-callers in the building. Can the Browns build a winning ball club around the second-round rookie or should they take another stab at a highly touted first-round quarterback?

For now, the Browns, and the city of Cleveland, are rolling with Kizer, and the punches that will most certainly come.

"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. Those things are going to happen. And I think we get that. I think he gets that and we're not going to blink about it. We're just going to correct it and keep moving forward."

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