It is, in fact, too early to make a definitive call on the massive contract the Cleveland Browns handed Deshaun Watson, the team’s latest and most spectacular Hail Mary attempt at finally landing on a franchise signal caller.
Watson has yet to look good in any of his eight starts for the Clownies, a stretch in which Northeast Ohio’s finest went a middling 4-3 since Watson returned from his suspension for you-know-what and prior to todays dub over the feckless Tennessee Titans. Through the first two games of the 2023 campaign, Watson racked up only 389 yards while posting the same number of tuddies (2) as INTs on his way to an NFL 30th-ranked 29.2 QBR, according to ESPN.
But c’mon, it’s still early. Watson has all year—scratch that, several years because let’s face it, the Browns aren’t eating $46 million a year in dead cap space—to prove that Andrew Berry and the Browns’ front office did the right thing by backing up the Brinks truck to bring him in. He may yet do it. The Browns were on the winning end of a 27-3 drubbing today at First Energy Stadium.
Still, what Watson cannot do, what absolutely, positively can never happen again, is this:
If you’re like us and can’t believe your eyes there, Watson dropped back on a first-and-ten from midfield in the second quarter of the Browns home game against the Tennessee Titans. When blitzing linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair gets home, Watson rolls to his right and into the arms of a waiting defensive lineman and then…THROWS THE BALL BACKWARDS, behind his own line of scrimmage. Assuming you’re as familiar with the rules of professional football as Watson should be, throwing a forward pass in that situation is a get-out-of-jail-free card for a quarterback that would’ve resulted in an incompletion.
Instead, Watson’s pass-to-nowhere resulted in a live ball that the Browns were lucky to recover, setting up second-and-forever.
Maybe it was a simple brain fart. Again, Watson’s still shaking off rust from nearly two years off the gridiron. But in the two games the Browns played since last Monday, a sampling of their $230 million fully-guaranteed offensive co-captain’s judgments have included two personal foul penalties for fasemasks, and pushing an official — an offense that could have gotten him an ejection late in a tight division game and did result in a fine.
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