Will Deshaun Watson become an elite QB for Browns

Went 3-3 in six starts following 11-game suspension
Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 5:00 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - It’s no secret, the Deshaun Watson Cleveland Browns watched the final six games of the 2022-2023 NFL season was not the one who was an All-Pro with the Houston Texans.

When you go 700 plus days between regular season starts in the National Football League, there is going to be some rust with any players game. Watson is certainly no different.

“It is always the layoff of anything that you do – it can be from anything personal to any activities to work – just having that layoff is definitely tough because you don’t get the full effect and you don’t get the emotions, the mood swings, the adversity and all of that different stuff that you can kind of mentally think of, but it is different when you are living in it going through full speed,” Watson said.

Despite going 3-3 in his six starts following the 11-game suspension, the struggles are there for Watson. 99 completions in 170 attempts for 1,102 yards with seven touchdowns and five interceptions for a rating of 79.1 and a qbr of 37.3.

“Of course, it didn’t meet the expectations. Of course, we wanted to find our way into the playoffs and have extended games and an opportunity to clinch the division and all of these different things,” Watson said. “As far as just being able to play football again, get out there and knock some rust off, have some ups, have some downs and have some in-betweens and kind of really get the feel of how we want to operate as an offense and what we look forward to as the Cleveland Browns, it definitely did that. I am excited. I am definitely looking forward to this future for the Cleveland Browns, the organization and this team. I know there are going to be some changes, but at the same time, I am always here for improvement and just trying to get better.”

So what is it going to take for Watson to return to elite quarterback status? Should he suggest some new ideas to head coach Kevin Stefanski?

“Not right now honestly. That is something I think me and Kevin personally should talk about just between us instead of putting it out there,” Watson said. “We are going to sit down. Met with him today. We are going to have a man to man conversation. Nothing negative or anything like that, but just what can we do to be better offensively and as a team. My next step in taking this team and taking that leadership role is really stepping out there and really taking this whole locker room under my wings. I am looking forward to that. This year was kind of tough with being in the building, being outside the building and all of different changes and all of the unknowns. Going into this 2023 season and having a pretty clear view of what we can look forward to, I think I can have the opportunity, and that is the role I want to make sure I challenge myself and take over.”

“You always want your quarterback to be involved in high-level discussions about your offense and what you are doing because ultimately when the quarterback is comfortable in those plays, he makes them work,” Stefanski said. “It is just pretty simple. Constantly having that dialogue with Deshaun. Have done it ever since he has been starting. You do that with all of your starting quarterbacks. He wants to be involved. He will be in town. We will spend a lot of time together – as much time that is allowed, I should say.”

2023 will be very important for the Browns as a franchise. With what was spent to bring in Watson from Houston, positive results have to start this offseason and carry over into next season. Having Watson all-in is a step in the right direction.

“We are excited about Deshaun,” general manager Andrew Berry said. “We feel good about where he is going to be as we get into the offseason, work through training camp and ultimately start in September next year. We are looking forward to that. We are looking forward to working with him.”

“I am very happy with my choice. I love being here, and I love being in Cleveland. My family loves coming up here to Cleveland. I love this locker room. I love the players. I love the coaching staff,” Watson said. “They made it a lot easier for me to transition and come in and be the person I need to be. I am looking forward to the improvements, I am looking forward to what the future holds for us and I am excited to be a Cleveland Brown. I want the best for this city. I want the best for this organization and everyone in this locker room. Like I said before, the ultimate goal is to try to get to that Super Bowl. That is what we have to keep continuing to push for. We have to hold ourselves to a higher standard. I have to hold myself to a higher standard as a player, as a person, as a teammate and as a leader. That is what we are going into 2023 thinking of, and I want to continue to have those standards very, very high. Everyone has to hold me to that standard, also.”