More sources report the NFL could suspend Deshaun Watson for a full season, if not more.
And there are just as many who think the Cleveland Browns are not prepared for such a scenario.
But the truth is this team is built to win with any competent quarterback at the helm.
And Jacoby Brissett can win a bunch of football games in Cleveland.
NFL will call for a “significant” suspension of Deshaun Watson for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, per @MarkMaske pic.twitter.com/1Kv9NEaqR7
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) June 17, 2022
Those who look at won-loss records are quick to excuse Mayfield and Watson’s sub-.500 records.
And Brissett, playing behind an excellent offensive line for the first time, should get the same consideration.
But there are a couple of tweaks Andrew Berry and Kevin Stefanski might consider in a worst-case scenario.
Here are 2 moves the Browns should make if Deshaun Watson is suspended for the season.
Shore Up The Quarterback Room
Brissett will win more games than he loses if the Browns are not otherwise snake-bitten in 2022.
But the majority of NFL quarterbacks will miss at least one game, emphasizing the importance of their backup.
Cleveland would do better than entrusting the role to Joshua Dobbs, with no NFL starts or touchdowns in 5 years.
Free agency offers few options, although the most popular might involve Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Superior pass protection might convince the 40-year-old to compete for a starting role on his 10th team.
#Browns QB Jacoby Brissett in action today. pic.twitter.com/ejFTKRaqKK
— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) June 14, 2022
Cam Newton is the second-best free agent option, which pretty much slams the door shut after Fitzpatrick.
Cleveland can also use his Mayfield card to bring another passer into the fold.
Sam Darnold is unlikely, but Carolina’s 3rd-stringer, PJ Walker has recent starting experience and a 2-0 record.
Berry might prefer to throw Geno Smith into a Seattle deal, but the Seahawks would counter with Drew Lock.
It is more likely Cleveland scouts the preseason camps to see who makes sense off the September 1 waiver wire.
Carry 4 Running Backs
There were moments last season when it appeared the Browns’ running game was shut down.
And Kevin Stefanski stuck with strict touch limits on Nick Chubb at some key moments.
But overall, the Browns still finished with the 6th-highest run percentage in the NFL.
This was just a season after their 2020 playoff run when they had the 4th highest run-pass ratio.
With Deshaun Watson at the helm, analysts expect the Browns to open things up in the passing game.
Nick Chubb: 92.4 PFF Grade since 2019
🥇 1st among all running backs
(📸 @Browns) pic.twitter.com/QpDz0Q7haj
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) May 30, 2022
But the 2020 game plan might be a more viable option with Jacoby Brissett behind center.
Brissett takes care of the ball well with a low turnover percentage despite an average (at-best) completion rate.
Along with a relatively low career yards-per-catch and air-yards per throw, he looks more like a game manager.
It’s possible Brissett breaks out behind an offensive line that won’t leave him sacked at a better than 10-percent rate
But Stefanski will do well to use his 3-headed monster in one more year of a run-heavy attack.
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