Ni­joku ready to fight af­ter missed block

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - FRONT PAGE - By Jeff Schudel jschudel@news-her­ald.com @jsproin­sider on Twit­ter

David Njoku is an­gry with him­self for miss­ing the block that re­sulted in DeShone Kizer get­ting knocked out of the game in Detroit with a rib in­jury, so now he wants to take out his anger on the Jaguars.

Not that Njoku has any­thing against the Jaguars — they just hap­pen to be next on the Browns’ sched­ule Nov. 19 at FirstEn­ergy Sta­dium.

“It pisses me off, man,” the rookie tight end said Nov. 13 in the Browns’ locker room. “I ain’t go­ing to lie to you. See­ing him on the ground like that got me mad, and you can’t re­ally fight in the NFL, so I’ve just got to take it out in how I play.

“You gotta give props to the (Lions). They played re­ally well, smart, too, but some­one’s gotta pay. Plain and sim­ple, so we gotta take it out on this next team. That’s how it is.”

Njoku was lined up on the left side and was con­cen­trat­ing on line­backer Jar­rad Davis as the Browns faced sec­on­dand-11 at the Browns’ 24 with 11 sec­onds left in the third quar­ter. Davis bluffed rush­ing and as he did, cor­ner­back Quan­dre Diggs blasted by Njoku and hit Kizer hel­met­first in Kizer’s rib area just as Kizer threw a pass in­tended for Ri­cardo Louis. Njoku bent at the knees and cringed as though help­lessly watch­ing a car ac­ci­dent un­fold.

The pass was in­com­plete. X-rays were neg­a­tive, so Kizer was able to re­turn with bruised ribs. While he was gone, though for only one third-down play and two Browns of­fen­sive se­ries, a 24-24 tie turned into a 38-24 deficit.

Njoku felt so bad that, while rid­ing on one team bus to the air­port with Kizer on an­other, Njoku sent a text to his quar­ter­back apol­o­giz­ing.

“The kid’s a baller,” Kizer said. “He’s go­ing to make the proper ad­just­ments. (The text) started with the missed block to make sure I was all right. It led into a long con­ver­sa­tion about where we need to go as a team and how close we are to get­ting over that hill.

“He’s back in here (in Berea) watch­ing film be­fore I was even back in here. When you know that a guy has that self-mo­ti­va­tion and that drive within him to make that cor­rec­tion on his own and not need a coach or some kind of leader to tell him that, it’s not go­ing to hap­pen again. He’s go­ing to learn from his mis­takes, and we’re go­ing to move for­ward and be that con­nec­tion we want to be.”

Njoku also said he should have got­ten his left foot down in bounds in the end zone on the play be­fore the botched fi­nal play of the first half. He caught a pass by Kizer from the 2, fall­ing back­ward. His right foot was clearly in, but his left foot landed out­side the bound­ary as he was fall­ing back­ward.

“I think I should have caught that with two feet in,” Njoku said. “There’s no ex­cuse for that to hap­pen. I should have got my left foot or left toe down. I didn’t, so I got to make up for it next game.”

Coach Hue Jack­son said the pass from Kizer should have been thrown to­ward the back corner in­stead of the side of the end zone.

That mis­con­nec­tion led to Kizer chang­ing the next play at the line of scrim­mage and call­ing a quar­ter­back sneak. Kizer was stopped for no gain. The clock ran out be­fore the Browns could get off an­other play.

PAUL SANCYA — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

David Njoku (85), de­fended by Lions cor­ner­back Dar­ius Slay (23), is un­able to catch a pass dur­ing the first half Nov. 12 in Detroit.

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