When Deshaun Watson played his first regular season game as a member of the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, he was rusty and ineffective, as he went just 12 of 22 and threw zero touchdown passes and one interception.
It was to be expected, as he had last played in a regular season game in January of 2021.
The Browns will need more from Watson this weekend, as they will go up against Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals, who boast a powerful offense.
Video from a recent practice shows Watson looking on point with his passing.
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) December 7, 2022
Of course, it’s one thing to look good in practice and another thing entirely to be efficient during an actual game.
Once Watson Gets Going, He Could Transform The Browns
Cleveland had been getting by during Watson’s 11-game suspension by riding Nick Chubb’s outstanding ground game and being conservative with its passing game.
Amari Cooper, the team’s other big offseason acquisition, has been as good as advertised, putting up 832 yards and seven touchdowns in 12 games this season.
But now, head coach Kevin Stefanski can turn the offense loose a little bit thanks to Watson’s ability to accurately throw the deep ball.
That will allow the Browns to get downfield more aggressively and put more pressure on opposing teams.
Such an attack will be of big importance versus the Bengals, who rank seventh in points, fourth in passing yards and second in passing touchdowns.
Cleveland must make Burrow feel like he cannot relax and that he’ll have to work very hard in order to get a win, and that doesn’t just fall on its defense.