Blue and Gold Illustrated

May 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 59 of 63

60 MAY 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED IRISH IN THE PROS BY COREY BODDEN I t was an up-and-down rookie cam- paign for former Notre Dame quar- terback DeShone Kizer in 2017 — but mostly downs. The 6-4, 233-pounder won the start- ing nod with the Cleveland Browns after being selected in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. But Kizer was unable to find consistency on the eventual 0-16 Browns, com- pleting just 53.6 percent of his passes for 2,894 yards with 11 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. In December, Cleveland hired Kansas City Chiefs general man- ager John Dorsey. The new GM then made a flurry of moves March 9, one of which directly impacted Kizer 's future. After landing Buffalo Bills starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor, Dorsey shipped Kizer off to the Green Bay Packers for cornerback Damarious Randall, a 2015 first-round pick. Both teams also swapped fourth- and fifth- round selections in the 2018 NFL Draft. Kizer went from potentially being part of a quarterback battle to sitting behind one of the top quarterbacks in the game today and arguably in NFL history — Aaron Rodgers. "Very surprised," Kizer told Pack- when asked about the move. "When stuff like this happens, you re- ally can't be prepared for it. The only thing I really know is the situation I had in Cleveland, but obviously [I'm] very excited now. "Looking back at it, I think it's go- ing to be an awesome opportunity to take a step back and learn from some great developers of the game, and be around some great competitors and get back to winning the way I know how to." Although he won't see much action in 2018 without an injury to Rodgers, Kizer knows he will benefit learning from the All-Pro quarterback. "I get to learn from somebody who's had a lot of success and, obvi- ously, is known as one of the better quarterbacks in this league and one of the better quarterbacks to ever play this game," Kizer said. "So, now I get to take a step back, learn from him, re-evaluate my process as a quarter- back and do whatever I can to help this team win, and develop myself into the best quarterback that I can be." Despite the downs during his rookie campaign, Kizer sees the ex- perience gained in year one and the new opportunity as a plus to find himself and further his development when the time comes. "I know how the bullets fly now," Kizer said. "That's awesome for a young quarterback. I think now is an experience to take a step back and re- evaluate that process and figure out where the issues were in my game and in my process, and do whatever I can to get a better routine through the week so I can be more prepared and do whatever I can to help the team win now." Kizer believes he has found his throwing rhythm and is in a good position to succeed moving forward. "After going through the season we went through last year and hav- ing some accuracy things in college, I think I found my stroke," Kizer stated. "I feel like I'm throwing the ball the best I've ever thrown it right now, and now [I'm] walking into a system that has been very quarter- back friendly through the history of their organization. "I think I'll be able to go out and hopefully step up my game to an- other level and be able to become a more accurate passer." MLB PLAYER UPDATES Through April 23 • John Axford (Played at Notre Dame from 2002-05), RHP, Toronto Blue Jays: Appeared in 10 games as a reliever for the Blue Jays … Tossed 10 innings while recording a 2.70 ERA and striking out eight batters. • Trey Mancini (2011-13), 1B/OF, Baltimore Ori- oles: Played in 21 of 23 games for the Orioles as the starting left fielder … Hitting .280 with two home runs and seven RBI in 82 at-bats. • David Phelps (2006-08), RHP, Seattle Mariners: Had season-ending Tommy John surgery before the start of the regular season and will miss all of 2018 … Was expected to be the set-up man for the Mariners. • A.J. Pollock (2007-10), OF, Arizona Diamond- backs: Participated in 20 of the first 21 games as the starting center fielder … In 74 at-bats, hitting .270 with five home runs and 16 RBI. • Jeff Samardzija (2003-06), RHP, San Francisco Giants: Started the season on the disabled list with a pectoral strain … Made his first start of the sea- son April 20 and earned the win over the Angels with five shutout innings and four strikeouts. DeShone Kizer Gets Fresh Start In Green Bay Kizer, who was traded to the Packers in March, threw for 2,894 yards with 11 touchdowns and 22 inter- ceptions over 15 starts in his lone season in Cleveland. PHOTO BY EVAN SIEGLE/COURTESY GREEN BAY PACKERS

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - May 2018