By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) — Kevin Hogan was fourth on the depth chart in training camp. He’s now Cleveland’s starting quarterback.
The Browns are changing QBs.
Hogan will replace struggling rookie DeShone Kizer this week and start at Houston, becoming the 28th different starter for the Browns since 1999. Hogan has come off the bench three times this season and produced points for the spiraling Browns (0-5), who are 1-20 in two seasons under coach Hue Jackson and showing minimal signs of improvement.
On Monday, Jackson said he needed more time to process the quarterback situation, which never seems to improve in Cleveland.
He released a statement Wednesday with his conclusion.
“I’ve made the decision to start Kevin this week,” Jackson said. “We’ve liked what Kevin has been able to do within our offense when he’s been in there and he will
Kizer has regressed in recent weeks, throwing interceptions and prompting Jackson to make the swap. The NFL’s youngest starting quarterback, the 21-year-old Kizer leads the league with nine interceptions — four inside the red zone. The second-round pick from Notre Dame has showed promise, but he’s been indecisive and inaccurate, and Jackson thinks the next step is for him to watch from the sideline and learn.
Hogan wasn’t even in the conversation to win Cleveland’s starting job in training camp when Kizer, Cody Kessler and Brock Osweiler battled it out. Kizer was named the starter, Kessler has been inactive on game days and Osweiler was cut despite his guaranteed $16 million contract and re-signed with Denver.
Although Hogan wasn’t viewed as a legitimate threat to start, Jackson maintains the former fifth-round pick from Stanford was always in the mix.
“Kevin has always been right there in my opinion,” Jackson said. “I watched him play last year for this football team. I watched him play in the preseason. “Kevin has always been right there.”
After Kizer was benched at halftime of Sunday’s loss to the New York Jets, Hogan came in and threw two touchdown passes and nearly rallied the Browns, who had two red-zone turnovers and missed two field goals in the first half.
Hogan finished 16 of 19 for 194 yards. In three relief appearances, he’s completed 26 of 38 passes for 377 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Browns Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas has been impressed with Hogan’s rise from forgotten fourth stringer to starter.
“He just keeps getting better and better and better and keeps showing that even though maybe he wasn’t a high draft pick that when he gets the opportunity he makes the most of it,'” Thomas said. “He throws the ball to the right guy, on time, on target. He does a good job with getting us in the right protections on the right guys in the pass game.
“He gets out of bad runs when they have a bad look on defense for us. So I think the confidence of the coaching staff just keeps growing when he’s out there and that’s why I think he just keeps moving up.”
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