BEREA, Ohio--DeShone Kizer found out pretty quickly that he had some things to learn before he put himself into a position to compete for the starting quarterback position.
After he was drafted, he talked boldly about coming in and earning the starting job. However, after a talk with Hue Jackson and arriving in Berea, Kizer has taken a lower key approach.
"(Jackson) laid it right to me, and he said 'look, this is not about you playing right away, this is not about a timetable on when you're going to play," Kizer said. "It's about you just learning as much as you possibly can and becoming a better quarterback and that's been my mindset since the day he said that.
"I'm going to continue to believe that until they tell me otherwise.''
Kizer said he feels he's making progress.
“I am pretty happy with where I am right now in the sense that this whole OTA experience and now veteran camp was just an opportunity for me to put myself in a position to potentially compete when it comes training camp time," Kizer said. "Once again, I am not in a position to even consider myself in a competition, but now after getting this base and getting the reps I have gotten in the last couple weeks, I think that by the time training camp comes around, with a little more work over this month off, I will be ready to compete with these guys and see what I can do.”
On the first day of minicamp, Kizer was inserted in with the first team for some plays. Jackson said that he was going to continue to "mix and match" the quarterbacks, but that Kizer has only taken reps with the first unit in team drills so he can see how he responds.
Kizer was excited for the opportunity.
“It is awesome," he said. "It is awesome. When you are out there with the guys who have done it for a while, some veterans who completely have seen everything, it not only helps me with my confidence, but it also puts me in the best position when I am wrong to get it right.
"The communication that you have with the center and the guys around you is everything," he said. "For me to have the opportunity to learn from those guys within these reps this early in my career, hopefully, will push me a little further ahead later down the road.”
Kizer--who the signing of his contract with the Browns was announced after meeting with the media--was asked if Jackson has explained the reasoning for putting him in with the first team early in minicamp.
“Not really," he said. "It has been an opportunity once again just to learn as much as I can. I think we all have the same mindset in the sense of this is all a learning game for me and trying to put myself in position to compete one day. I think Coach believes that it is best for me to get out there and learn from the guys who have been doing it for a while.”
Reports said Kizer signed a four-year contract for about $4.9 million.
Kizer said the game has slowed down for him in the short time he's been with the Browns.
“Quite a bit," he said. "At the quarterback position, this game is all about confidence and being comfortable. The more you know, the more confident you are. As the time goes on, the more I can become more comfortable with the playbook, the more confident I will be and the better balls I will be able to throw.
"At the end of the day, it is all just about completing passes and moving the ball forward and eventually trying to put up points," he said. "Once again, the more I know, the more confident I will be.”
Kizer said he plans to join Cody Kessler with quarterback coach Tom House at Proactive Sports Performance in California until training camp. He was asked what he needs to work on.
“Just becoming consistent – consistently understanding the plays, consistently making the right checks, consistently putting the ball in the check-down the right way, and all of that comes with reps," he said. "This is going to be a big offseason for me, this next month in making sure that I can continue to have the same reps I have had this last month and a half since I have been here and make sure that that pushes into training camp the right way to get a little more consistent.”
Bitonio Confident: OL Joel Bitonio said he thinks there's a chance he'll be ready for the start of training camp.
“It is hard to say exactly, but I feel really good," Bitonio said. "They are obviously letting me do some stuff so it is a good step. We are still five-six weeks away from camp so I think we are moving in the right direction.”
Bitonio was glad to get on the field.
"Good. I am feel really good actually," he said. "They let me run around a little bit and just be out there and warm up and go through individual and sweat a little bit with the team and stuff like that. It was awesome to be out there. I felt really good and strong. We are getting there.”
Wizard of Oz: QB Brock Osweiler said he feels he's had a good showing at minicamp.
“I feel like I have had a good camp," he said. "Is there always room for improvement? Absolutely. No one is going to study the tape and be more critical of themselves than myself. I’m always going to study it very hard and be very realistic with myself. I’m very happy with things, but there is plenty of room to grow, and I’m striving every single day to be a better player.”
Osweiler said he doesn't have any clarification of his status heading to training camp.
“I really don’t," he said. "I would say everything is the same. It is not like we have a meeting before practice saying, ‘Hey, this guy is going to get these reps, this guy is going to get these reps.’ We all go out to practice, as I’m sure you all have seen, and kind of stand behind coach. He turns around and says, ‘Hey Brock, get in there,’ or ‘Hey DeShone, get in there.’
"We are all just kind of playing on the fly right now, but like I told you a couple of weeks ago, you can only worry about what you can control," he said. "The quarterbacks on this team don’t set the depth chart. Coach does. I’m not going to worry about that. I’m going to worry about playing to the best of my ability, learning this system and trying to get better every single day.”
Britt Sits: WR Kenny Britt was on the side with trainers after a full day on Tuesday. The trainers have rested him with other veterans during the OTA's for an undisclosed reason. Also on the side were: OL Joe Thomas (rest), OL John Greco (last season surgery), OL Austin Reiter (last season surgery), OL J.C. Tretter (undisclosed) and WR Corey Coleman (undisclosed). TE J.P. Holtz (undisclosed) returned to practice after missing Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Jackson said he's being cautious with Coleman and expects him to be full go to start training camp.
“Corey is very close," Jackson said. "He is close. I don’t want to get into what it is. I don’t think there is any need to. He will be ready to go when the time comes. Like I said before, we need him to go out there and if I needed to push him through it, we could. He is closer to playing than he is not to playing. He will be out there very soon I anticipate. Like I said, when we get back, he will be ready to go. If we decide to stick him out there before then, then I will talk to the medical staff and see where we are.”