The Cleveland Browns knew Deshaun Watson’s play would be a work in progress as the quarterback returned from a nearly two-year hiatus due to injury and suspension for gross sexual misconduct.
The early returns, however, have not been great. The Browns are 2-2 in Watson‘s four games since returning from his 12-game suspension, but those two wins came in spite of Watson’s play. He has consistently been a bottom-five quarterback in the league across numerous key statistics.
On Christmas Eve, Andy Dalton and the New Orleans Saints eliminated the Browns from playoff contention at home in a game that featured brutal weather conditions. Watson finished that game (seen above) with 15 completions on 31 attempts for 135 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception.
While that game featured 50-mph winds off Lake Erie, Watson’s season stats aren’t much better. On the year, he’s produced 71 completions on 123 attempts (57.7 percent) for 703 yards and two touchdowns with three interceptions.
Watson, however, is adamant his progress is about more than simple statistics.
“The progress is continuing to grow each and every week,” Watson said Thursday, according to Chris Easterling of The Akron Beacon-Journal. “The stats might not show it, and it might not say it, but right now […] this is not about any statistics or anything like that. It’s about me improving as a quarterback, getting back in the rhythm, getting in the rhythm of this offense and this team.”
Watson contended he’s getting better in areas that don’t show on the stat sheet.
“And as far as my decision-making and reads and throws and timing and everything like that, it’s been getting better each and every week,” he said.
The Browns face former Ohio State Buckeyes star Chase Young and the Washington Commanders on Sunday. Oddsmakers list the Commanders as 2.5-point favorites entering the game.
[The Akron Beacon-Journal; photo from Scott Galvin/USA Today Sports]