Buccaneers will face three quarters of rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer
For Cleveland’s prized rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer, the Buccaneers represent a final challenge on his path to earning the starting job.
The third preseason game is always the one worth watching. Starters generally play late into the third quarter, and the game is treated as a true dress rehearsal for the regular season. The Buccaneers match-up against the Cleveland Browns this week was already going to be exciting for that reason, but on Wednesday it got even more intriguing.
After two exhibition games worth of competition between quarterbacks Brock Osweiler and DeShone Kizer, it was announced by Browns coach Hue Jackson that Kizer would be given the starting reigns against Tampa Bay as his final test. Osweiler reportedly won’t play at all in the game, so Tampa Bay’s starting defense will get at least a half of action versus the rookie quarterback. Essentially, it’s Kizer’s job to lose with only Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David, Kwon Alexander and Noah Spence in the way.
Despite Kizer’s inexperience he’s been the most impressive rookie quarterback during this preseason and has shown that he has the physical tools to make plays early in his career. The Browns quietly have a quality group of offensive weapons like Corey Coleman, Kenny Britt, David Njoku, Issiah Crowell, and Duke Johnson, and through two preseason games they’ve managed to create several explosive plays. In my opinion, the Buccaneer defense has its work cut out for it.
Protecting the rookie quarterback is future hall-of-fame left tackle Joe Thomas, whom Noah Spence will see quite a bit of action against. The rest of the Browns offensive line is solid as well, and much stronger than the Buccaneers’ previous two opponents, Cincinnati and Jacksonville. The Buc defense has been inconsistent thus far against the run, so this game will be an excellent opportunity for the group to set the tone for the regular season. With Brent Grimes out again we can expect to see Vernon Hargreaves covering Corey Coleman, an extremely athletic receiver and the type that Hargreaves struggled with last season. At the helm of it all will be the 6’4, 230 lb rookie Kizer.
Next: Kwon Alexander misses practice
Through two preseason games DeShone Kizer has completed 19 of 31 passes for 258 yards and a touchdown, as well as 47 yards and a touchdown as a runner. Tampa is likely to play their starters for the majority of time that Kizer plays, so we’ll see if he – and they – are up for the challenge.