Discerning readers of sports sites and social media can find predictions ranging from zero games to years.
But it appears the NFL is adamant about their desire for a lengthy amount of missed games.
And the Browns will do well to plan for such an outcome, just in case.
A few days ago Deshaun Watson was about to be suspended for the whole year and today some are saying he may not get suspended at all. This thing is all over the place.
— Mekka Don (@MekkaDonMusic) July 1, 2022
It’s hard to believe Andrew Berry hasn’t thought through all his options.
That doesn’t mean we’ll agree with or understand what the team does in the absence of Watson.
But it’s not just the front office and coaching staff who have to respond to the situation.
Here are 3 players who will need to step up if Watson is suspended.
Cleveland all but announced Jacoby Brissett as the interim starter during a Watson suspension.
Brissett started 5 games for the Miami Dolphins last season, winning twice.
And while they share some physical attributes, Brissett’s game is quite different than Deshaun Watson’s.
Amari Cooper‘s crisp patterns and quick hands will provide plenty of timing opportunities for Brissett.
DAVID NJOKU 71-YARD TOUCHDOWN
— Billy Heyen (@BillyHeyen) October 10, 2021
If he misses the timing, Donovan Peoples-Jones is an excellent option in tight quarters or under pressure.
But Jacoby Brissett loves his tight ends if his Dolphins’ tendencies are any indication.
Mike Gesicki found the ball on short and long routes, down the seam or across the middle.
David Njoku could quickly earn his big extension with a slew of targets from Brissett in a shorter, safer offense.
In a shorter and safer offense, it makes sense the Browns’ primary pass-catching back should be ready.
And for sure, Kareem Hunt stands to see his fair share of screens, dump-offs, and shuffle passes.
But Cleveland owns one of the top rushing attacks in the NFL, led by Nick Chubb.
Kevin Stefanski has an analytical mind, and he must have seen what we saw from our couches last year.
Kareem Hunt jumps over a defender for the touchdown 😳pic.twitter.com/GIRwBLvTBB
— Everything Cleveland (@everythingcle_) November 22, 2020
Going 4-wide every time a defense stacks the box is not the best way to get teams to stop stacking the box.
Good running teams can beat a stacked box, and set them up to get burnt on play-action later.
But if Cleveland runs more, it does not mean Stefanski increases Chubb’s touches.
It probably means Kareem Hunt runs more, even if the team sprinkles in a 3rd or 4th back on occasion.
Josh Dobbs’ NFL career has been less than overwhelming, with much of it spent on inactive lists.
But he looks like a quarterback and he brings an enthusiasm to the field that’s hard to root against.
And in his 6th season since the 2017 NFL Draft, he’s as close to starting a game as he’s ever been.
Dobbs will have to throw more than his career-high 9 attempts in 2018 (4/9/24/0/1) if Brissett goes down.
— Blitzburgh✨ (@Blitz_Burgh) August 6, 2021
But throwing is the easy part about playing quarterback.
Dobbs has to master the playbook and understand defenses if he is to lead the Browns to victory.
“Winning” and looking good in practice will help win the confidence of teammates.
And Dobbs needs to support Brissett and be the guy in his ear on the sideline as he waits for his own chance.