Cleveland Browns Confident Deshaun Watson Will Return To His Former (On The Field) Self

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PHOENIX — The Cleveland Browns are trying to get Deshaun Watson back to form.

And we’re talking form as in the Pro Bowl quarterback he was 2018-2020. We’re not talking the alleged predator he was suspended for being in 2019-2020.

So the club has kept things Watson feels good about status quo to make sure he’s comfortable. It’s one reason Joshua Dobbs, whom Watson related to well last season, was re-signed as the backup quarterback.

And the club has made some changes it deemed necessary to help Watson play better. It’s the reason Bill Musgrave was hired as a senior offensive assistant. And the reason Cleveland traded for receivers Marquise Goodwin and Elijah Moore.

Deshaun Watson #4 of the Cleveland Browns in action against the Pittsburgh Steelers on January 8, 2022 at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Deshaun Watson Has To Do His Part

Now comes the Watson part.

Up next, Cleveland hopes: That middling player from the six games coming off an 11-game suspension last year, lives up to billing. The part where he shakes off rust of not playing in 2021. The part he lives up to his fully guaranteed $230 million contract.

The Browns are confident that will happen next season.

“Yeah, I think confidence for me comes from seeing it and I’ve seen him do it,” coach Kevin Stefanski said Monday. “I saw him do it in those games last season. I know it wasn’t perfect. It certainly wasn’t perfect. We weren’t perfect around him and as we all know, it’s not a one man show.

“It’s a team game and we didn’t have as much team success as we would’ve liked late in the season there. But I’ve seen it from Deshaun in games, I’ve seen it from practice, I’ve seen it in his career. So that’s why I’m confident.”

The Browns have no real choice but to expect (hope?) for the best form Watson. They’re tied contractually to the guy for a long time. But what if the Browns are just being the Browns and got this wrong?

Anyway, the club is doing all this work to make Watson comfortable and better and the coach is thinking that’s how it will play out, so whatever happens there are no excuses.


Head Coach Kevin Stefanski of the Cleveland Browns reacts against the New England Patriots during the third quarter at Gillette Stadium on November 14, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Kevin Stefanski Believes In Deshaun Watson

“I don’t think Deshaun or myself gets wrapped up in what people are saying on the outside,” Stefanski said. “I think he’s a self-motivated type of person, and we have a lot of those guys on our team and that’s the only way I know how to go about it.”

Maybe Stefanski doesn’t worry about what people are thinking but what else could possibly keep Watson from performing? He is, after all, starting his second year in the same system. Watson knows the locker room. He knows his new town.

“Yeah, I think you’re trying year in and year out, you’re trying to give the quarterback a great structure, a great environment, obviously great players around him,” Stefanski said. “You’re constantly trying to do that.

“I know Deshaun’s excited about the guys that we’ve added. I know he’s talked to all of them and I’m sure he’ll be throwing with them sooner than later. But our goal is always to make sure that our quarterback has everything at his disposal.”

Watson indeed is expected to begin working with his receivers as early as next week. But obviously what happens during the season is the thing.

He threw 7 TD passes and 5 interceptions in six starts last season. That cannot repeat.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

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