This wouldn't be news if the rookie, who had started the season as Cleveland's quarterback, had held onto the role. However, three consecutive benchings have thrown the position into flux. Kevin Hogan took over for Kizer in a Week 5 loss to the Jets, then started Cleveland's loss in Houston. Kizer was handed the start in Week 7 against the Titans, but was quickly benched for former starter Cody Kessler, who finished the overtime loss.
"I think they're hurting the young man, I think they're hurting the organization," Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner said on Up To The Minute Live Wednesday. "You have to give a guy a chance to show you what he is and show you want kind of leader he's going to be. You've gotta let your team know, 'this is our guy.' Thick or thin, this is our guy. We're going to fight through these things with him.'"
On the season, Kizer ranks last in the league in interceptions (11), passer rating (47.8) and completion percentage (52.0); he leads only Joe Flacco in yards per attempt (5.39).
There might not be a more mishandled position in the entire league than "Browns starting quarterback," but as the team nears its bye, and elimination from playoff contention, perhaps Cleveland will find clarity under center. First, the 21-year-old Kizer will have to survive the Vikings, a ball-hawking defense that hasn't allowed more than 300 yards since Week 3 and a weekend in one of the world's great pub cities.