Ravens Want Give to Deshaun Watson ‘Not-So-Soft Welcoming’ to AFC North

Browns QB Deshaun Watson

Getty Browns QB Deshaun Watson will be playing the Ravens for the first time in a new uniform in Week 15.

The Baltimore Ravens will be facing Deshaun Watson for the second time in his career in Week 15 but it will mark the first time they will be facing him as a member of the Cleveland Browns. The three-time Pro Bowler was traded into the division this offseason from the Houston Texans for a king’s ransom and given a record-setting extension for guaranteed money.

Watson is 0-2 against the Ravens thus far in his career and their defense is looking forward to welcoming him to their AFC North rivalry with the Browns by hopefully handing him his third straight loss to them come Saturday, December 17, 2022, at FirstEnergy Stadium with a kickoff time of 4:30 pm EST.

All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey looks forward to competing against Watson for years to come and wants to and wants it to be an unpleasant experience for him because that will mean the Ravens will come out on top more often than not.

“We want to give him a not-so-soft welcoming,” Humphrey said in a press conference on December 13, 2022. “So, it’s cool to welcome him to the rivalry. Hopefully, it won’t be a good rivalry-welcoming for him.

Watson is coming off just his second game back from being reinstated by the NFL after serving an 11-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy stemming from off-field legal issues.

While he didn’t exactly light the Cincinnati Bengals’ defense up in a 23-10 loss, he appeared to find more of a rhythm in the second half. With a small sample size of what he looks like in the Browns’ offense, they aren’t doubting his ability to still perform at a Pro Bowl on any given Sunday or this case, Saturday.

“They paid a lot of money to Deshaun and have a lot of faith in him, and he’s obviously one of those top 5, top 10 quarterbacks in the league,” Humphrey said. “[There’s] limited film, [and] it’s kind of only heating up, so it’s not really the best time to play him, but we look forward to the challenge.”

Watson has clearly looked like a player that hasn’t played much in the regular season since 2020 after he refused to play for the Texans in 2021 prior to being traded this offseason. However, after he finished 26-of-42 for 276 yards and a touchdown and added another 33 yards rushing on six attempts, the Ravens are well aware of his dual-threat ability and are determined to not let him unleash it.

“[He is] still the same guy that he used to be, still a great quarterback, still can move, still can make the throws on the move,” inside linebacker Patrick Queen said in a press conference. “[He] can still do everything that any other quarterback can do. So, the biggest thing with him is just trying to keep him in the pocket and limiting the things he does well.”

The Ravens will be looking complete the season sweep of the Browns after defeating them 23-20 at home in Week 7. Baltimore has bested Cleveland in five of their last six meetings including a season sweep in 2020 and a series split in 2019 and 2021.

Tyler Huntley Participates in Practice

The Ravens haven’t ruled out their MVP-winning quarterback, Lamar Jackson, for this week’s game after he missed their Week 14 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers with a knee sprain, but they could have his primary backup back under center for the crucial divisional matchup.

The third-year pro who led a game-winning drive against the Denver Broncos in Week 13 got to make his fifth career start against the Steelers but would leave the game in the third quarter after taking a huge hit and was ruled out with a concussion. He is currently working his way through the concussion protocol and the team got a positive development on that front when he was able to participate in Tuesday’s walkthrough practice albeit on a limited basis.

After practice head coach John Harbaugh said that it’s still too early to tell whether he’d be available to start in Cleveland this weekend. Jackson completely sat out of practice and hasn’t practiced since Friday, December 2, 2022, ahead of the Broncos game. If neither quarterback is able to suit up, the Ravens will start undrafted rookie Anthony Brown who came in and helped seal the win against the Steelers by performing admirably in his first NFL regular season action.

The only other player that missed the first practice of the week that wasn’t for a non-injury-rest day was veteran wide receiver Demarcus Robinson who was held out with an illness. Veteran right guard Kevin Zeitler also missed 14 with a knee injury but he returned to practice as a limited participant. The other two limited participants listed on the initial injury report were rookie punter Jordan Stout and veteran right tackle Morgan Moses with knee injuries.

Browns Lose Starting Defender For Rest of Season

One key player that the Ravens won’t be facing when they head to Cleveland this week is second-year inside linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah as NFL Insider Ian Rapoport and the Browns themselves announced that the 2021 second-round selection suffered a foot injury that has landed him on season-ending injured reserve.

Owusu-Koramoah has made some big plays against the Ravens in two of his three career games against the team including the infamous takedown of Jackson in Week 14 of last season that wound up sidelining him for the rest of the year.

In the first matchup between the two teams this season, he recorded six total tackles including five solos and one for a loss, two pass deflections, and a forced fumble that kept the Ravens from putting the game away in the fourth quarter, giving his team some late hope instead.

His 70 total tackles in 11 games are the fourth most on the Browns through 13 games and his seven tackles for loss were the second most on the team behind only three-time Pro Bowl pass rusher Myles Garrett.