The Browns have known for some time that Deshaun Watson will miss at least six games. This knowledge did not change the decision-makers’ opinion of what to do in the meantime.
The Browns finally found out on Thursday how long the suspension of the starting quarterback will last. Will the 11 games Watson miss change her mindset?
If so, the Browns aren’t saying it.
They reiterated that they are all in with Jacoby Brissett.
“Throughout this process, it’s been helpful for us to try to be respectful of it and to know that there would finally be clarity, and then we just stick with our plan,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said of cleveland’s Dan Labbe .com “We’re pretty happy with how we’re working at the moment knowing we’ll be bringing Deshaun back after 11 games.”
The Browns increase Brissett’s first-team workload as they near the season opener against the Panthers. Watson will not play in the last two preseason games.
“We want to take a good look at some of our programs versus another program, if you will,” Stefanski said, “but ultimately when we leave this week, Jacoby will get all the reruns.”
The Browns play five playoff teams in 2021 while Watson is out. They also play the Chargers, Ravens and Dolphins, who are playoff contenders this year.
Watson is eligible to return to action against his former team on December 4, but will the Browns still be in contention then? The Browns have faith in Brissett, perhaps more than anyone outside of the locker room.
“We are excited about Jacoby and have a lot of faith in Jacoby and when Deshaun is ready he will rejoin the team,” said Stefanski.
The Colts attempted to make Brissett a bridge quarterback not once, but twice. He started 15 games for Andrew Luck in 2017 when Luck was out with a shoulder injury, and in 2019 when Luck abruptly retired on August 24 of that preseason, Brissett started 15 games.
He is 14-23 as a starter.
“I think back to the time we took over Jacoby, the phone calls I’ve had with people he’s played for, people he’s played with, it was very, very consistent that you go pro gets,” said Stefanski. “[He’s]someone who will lead from the front, works very hard at his craft and is just an excellent teammate.”
But the question remains: if the Browns start Brissett for all 11 games, will they win enough to stay in contention if Watson returns?