CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – Jacoby Brissett will begin preparations to be the Browns Week 1 starter at Carolina starting with Sunday’s training camp practice while Deshaun Watson awaits his fate.
Brissett will be moved ahead of Watson with the first team offense to start taking the bulk of the reps.
“That has been the plan really from the beginning is just to at some point let Jacoby get the majority of them,” head coach Kevin Stefanski said Saturday. “[We will] still work Deshaun, still work Josh Dobbs and still work Josh Rosen, but Jacoby will get the majority starting this block.”
Brissett did not play in Friday night’s 24-13 win at Jacksonville while Watson and the offense struggled in three offensive series.
Watson completed one pass for seven yards and Cleveland had 11 net yards of offense in their first three possessions that included a pair of dropped passes by receiver Anthony Schwartz, multiple penalties, the loss of center Nick Harris to a knee injury and a D’Ernest Johnson fumble that ended their second possession after two plays.
“I think anybody who is doing something that they have not done in 20 months, there is going to be an element of getting back into it and getting used to it,” Stefanski said. “So much of what we did last night was getting through a night game and how we walkthrough and preparing yourself to play; the pregame warmup and doing that for the first time; breaking the huddle; at the line of scrimmage making run checks; getting to the sideline talking to a new position coach; and hearing a new voice in your helmet in a game setting. That was really the goal of last night for him.
“There are some challenging things. Ultimately, he did a nice job of running the offense. I know we would all want more production and those type of things, but you can’t overreact to a small sample size either direction, whether it is good or bad.”
Prior to the game, in an interview with team television sideline reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala that aired on News 5, Watson apologized to his accusers.
“I’m truly sorry to all of the women that I have impacted in this situation,” Watson, who added he wants to continue counseling, told Kinkhabwala.
The apology was the first public sign of remorse or contrition by Watson, who has maintained his innocence and been steadfast in saying he’s done nothing to disrespect women in the wake of 25 lawsuits – 23 of which he has settled – that were filed alleging sexual misconduct during therapeutic massage sessions.
Sue L. Robinson, who handed down a six-game suspension that the NFL is appealing and seeking a ban that lasts at least the full 2022 season, cited a lack of remorse in her final findings that included three separate conduct policy violations in four different instances.
Peter C. Harvey was designated by commissioner Roger Goodell to handle the league’s appeal.
With everyone waiting for Harvey’s decision, clearly the Browns hope Watson’s public apology will help his case to be permitted to play this season.
“I just think Deshaun has been very committed to being the best version of himself,” Stefanski said. “That is off the field and that is on the field obviously when he is in this building, but more so I do think he wants to learn and grow as a person. That is important.”
Until then, the focus is on getting Brissett ready for the Panthers September 11.
“Jacoby has gotten a lot of reps to date,” Stefanski said. “I go back to the nine-week offseason program and the weeks we have been together, he has gotten a ton of reps with the ones and with the twos. Even the way we structure our routes versus air and individual period, he has gotten a lot of reps with the quote-unquote ones and the twos. He will keep on that same process and making sure he is running the show when he is in there. He does a nice job in the quarterback meeting room with those guys so I just think this is also the natural progression for him moving forward.”