The countdown to the Cleveland Browns‘ first preseason game is on.
They will take the field at 7 p.m. in Florida to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Although the Deshaun Watson suspension situation and all its uncertainty continue to hang over the Browns, they are moving forward as if it’s business as usual.
Although Watson will not be allowed to play in at least their first six regular season games, he will play in their preseason opener on Friday.
The #Browns say QB Deshaun Watson is scheduled to start in the preseason opener vs. the #Jaguars on Friday (provided there is no change to his status).
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 10, 2022
This will give him a chance to build real chemistry with his new teammates and vice versa, as well as give fans some entertainment value.
Watson Playing Will Be A Treat For Fans
No matter what one thinks of the dozens of sexual misconduct allegations Watson has been facing, the fact remains that he is the best and most talented quarterback Cleveland has had in decades.
He may not be a truly elite signal-caller, but he is close, and he has the ability to elevate the Browns beyond the sum of their parts.
Watson will be playing with as much offensive talent as he ever has, since he will be sharing the field with Nick Chubb, one of the NFL’s best running backs, Amari Cooper, a four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver and a talented offensive line.
Not only will Watson get some snaps on Friday, but so will Trevor Lawrence, the Jags’ starting QB and the No. 1 pick in last year’s NFL draft.
#Jaguars HC Doug Pederson says starters will play on Friday against the Browns — including Trevor Lawrence. pic.twitter.com/BDhnE8M6V4
— John Shipley (@_John_Shipley) August 10, 2022
Lawrence was a big-time star at Clemson University, winning the ACC Athlete of the Year award in 2020, but his rookie season in the pros left a lot to be desired.
He threw more interceptions (17) than touchdowns (12) and posted a poor passer rating of 71.9, making some question whether he was worth all the hype.
Browns fans should really cherish the preseason snaps Watson takes part in because right now there is still a real chance he could be suspended for the entire regular season.
Preseason Work This Year Will Eventually Pay Off
Even if Watson isn’t allowed to play in any regular season games, it would be wise for head coach Kevin Stefanski to give him some run in each of Cleveland’s preseason games.
That is because the chemistry built this summer between the offensive unit will give the Browns a head start next summer during training camp and the preseason.
Chemistry is so important in football, as QBs and receivers have different strengths, tendencies and preferences, and the Browns won’t want to start from scratch when they reconvene next year for the 2023 season.
Of course, it will be important for Jacoby Brissett, the team’s QB2, to get a good number of snaps in, both during practices and preseason games.
If Watson’s suspension stays at six games, the hope is that between Brissett’s experience and the Browns’ ability to win ugly, they could take advantage of the easy stretch they have in September and October to put themselves within striking distance of the playoffs once the three-time Pro Bowler returns.
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