Browns’ quarterback carousel spins wildly
CLEVELAND — The quarterback carousel for the Browns has become a carnival.
One week after sitting turnover-prone rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer for an entire game, Cleveland coach Hue Jackson benched him in the second half of a 12-9 overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans.
The sudden, surprising move seemed to scream desperation from Jackson, who dropped to 1-22 in two seasons and could be in jeopardy of not finishing 2017.
It’s bad enough that he’s swapping quarterbacks, but Jackson’s team has also been undisciplined — on and off the field.
The Browns (0-7) committed 12 penalties against the Titans, and afterward Jackson had to address a report that Kizer was out at a local nightclub until early Saturday.
The development with Kizer came after disappointing wide receiver Kenny Britt was fined for missing curfew last week in Houston and sent home along with injured wide receiver Corey Coleman.
And if all that wasn’t enough for Jackson, 10-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas suffered a serious triceps injury, ending his streak of more than 10,000 consecutive plays and maybe his season.
The Browns have found a new low.
Meanwhile, the Titans enter their bye week tied for first in the AFC South following a victory with few redeemable qualities.
“It’s tough to win in this league,” quarterback Marcus Mariota said. “It doesn’t matter who you’re playing or what the opponent is. We came out with the win and that’s all that matters.”
Safety Kevin Byard had three interceptions and Ryan Succop kicked a game-winning field goal — his fourth — with 1:55 left for the Titans (4-3).
Jackson, who earlier this season said he was prepared to ride with Kizer through whatever ups and down may come, strongly defended his decision to pull the second-round pick in favor of Cody Kessler.
Kizer has thrown a league-leading 11 interceptions, and after his second one against the Titans , Jackson made a change.
Jackson said he can’t worry about Kizer’s confidence when he has 52 other players to worry about.
“I am sure he doesn’t want the yoyo, but it goes both ways,” he said. “Developing quarterbacks, they still have to do what you asked them to do. In that process of developing a quarterback, I want them to not turn the ball over. That is the name of the game. It is not just about one individual. It is about the team.”
Kizer was obviously upset with his latest demotion, which came after he had played relatively clean first half — 12 of 19 for 114 yards — before throwing an interception with 30 seconds left to end a possible scoring drive.