For the first time since training camp, Deshaun Watson was out on the practice fields at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus throwing passes to his actual teammates.
Watson was able to return to practice Wednesday in accordance to the guidelines of his 11-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. He’s been in the building since Oct. 10 and has been allowed to participate in meetings and meet individually with coaches, and he’ll now be able to practice with the team as his first Browns start on Dec. 4 in Houston nears.
The Browns face a couple pertinent questions when it comes to Watson’s workload: Will first-team snaps be shared between Jacoby Brissett and Watson? How will plans change at all as the Texans game approaches?
Head coach Kevin Stefanski will keep those answers internal.
“I’m not going to get into the reps he’s getting,” he said. “It’s going to be good to have him out there at practice with his teammates.”
But Stefanski did make it clear that the primary focus will stay on Brissett for the next two weeks.
“(Watson) will be out there in practice, but Jacoby is starting,” Stefanski said. “He’s going to put everything he has into this game like he does each week. His preparation is not changing. My preparation with him is not changing. It’s just a matter of finding the right amount.”
Stefanski believes Watson will be able to rebuild rapport with receivers quickly due to the reps he took in training camp. Watson spent ample time with the first team offense during spring practices and camp.
“That was a big part of our offseason and the spring and the summer, getting Deshaun reps,” Stefanski said. “I think you bank those reps. I think he has a lot of reps he can rely on and then can watch the tape of running plays he’ll be asked to run when it’s time for him to play.”
For the time being, however, the prime focus at QB will stay on Brissett, who will be under center for two crucial games that could decide whether the Browns are still in the playoff chase by the time Watson returns. At 3-6, Cleveland has to win at least one, if not both games against Buffalo and Tampa Bay to keep playoff hopes alive.
Watson’s time with the offense will come, but the top focus is still on Brissett.
“The most important thing is getting ready for Buffalo and getting Jacoby ready to play,” Stefanski said.
Source: Anthony Poisal, Staff Writer – Cleveland Browns