Browns Send Message on Deshaun Watson’s Future After Rough Debut

Deshaun Watson

Getty Images Deshaun Watson of the Cleveland Browns.

The rust was real for Deshaun Watson in his Cleveland Browns debut but the team will continue to start the embattled QB going forward.

Watson finished the game 12-of-22 for 131 yards and no touchdowns, also tossing an interception in the end zone in the first half. He also ran for 21 yards but the offense looked disjointed for most of the afternoon, with the defense and special teams scoring a trio of touchdowns.

Watson posted a career-low passer rating of 53.4 and it was the first time a team led by the former Clemson standout had not scored an offensive touchdown.

“I felt every single one of those 700 days,” Watson said, referencing his time away from football. “Next week I definitely am going to need to be better, I will be better. The team will be better.”

When asked if Watson would be the starter going forward this season, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski did not hesitate.

“Yes. Yes,” Stefanski said.

Browns Still Have Jacoby Brissett on Bench

The Browns started Jacoby Brissett for the first 11 games of the season and his 4-7 record as the starter didn’t tell the whole story of how he performed. The veteran QB became a key leader for the Browns, who still managed to be solid on offense as they awaited Watson’s return.

He accounted for 2,608 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions but also established himself as one of the key leaders in the locker room.

“I love Jacoby. He is a hell of a teammate, one of the best teammates I have ever had,” Browns defensive end Jadeveon Clowney said after Brissett’s final start. “He is all about the team and his players. You can’t ask for a better teammate out of anyone in the league.”

Brissett is now holding the clipboard but did play a snap against the Texans, coming in on a short conversion. It looked like the Browns would sneak it with Brissett but he handed off to tight end Harrison Bryant, who picked up the first.

Watson Booed by Texans Crowd in Return

Watson has been accused by more than two dozen women of sexual harassment and assault during massage therapy sessions. He had not played a game in nearly two seasons as his legal situation unfolded and settled with the league on the 11-game suspension.

He was booed loudly during his Browns debut at NRG Stadium, which he called home for the first four years of his career.

“They’re supposed to boo,” Watson said. “I’m a Cleveland Brown now.”

The Browns said they did “extensive” research into Watson before trading their 2022, 2023 and 2024 first-round draft selections and two other picks in the deal to land their future franchise QB. They also gave him a massive, fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract.

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