QB Deshaun Watson (11.5.23)


Are you able to put into words just how great it felt to just go through everything that you’ve been through in the last five weeks and then to kind of put it all together and to go out there and have that kind of day you had today?

“It feels good. This is what I’ve been preparing and training very hard to get back to. Just to get out there and play free and be able to be very close to myself and just go out there and compete and have fun with my teammates, and that’s what today brought.”


How do you feel coming out of it? And did you need to take a couple of those hits to feel like you were back to being healthy and good to go? 

“Yeah, I mean, it’s part of football, so I didn’t want to go out there and like I said before, just play handicap or hold myself to a disadvantage because of an injury that I had before, so came out healthy. I feel good, and you just got to keep going and striving each and every day.”


Why not all the way? What’s missing? 

“I’m not 100%. I just came from an injury, so yeah, I just miss whatever. I was 19 for 30, so I miss a couple of throws that I want, that I know I can make, and, yeah, we just got to keep striving, and I’m striving to get better each and every opportunity that I get.”


Amari (Cooper) said he thought you were back on that first throw. When did you feel like you were at least back in terms of within the context of the day? 

“Probably Monday or Tuesday.”


You took off in that third down run, 13 yards, and your single first down. Did you know then that you run the ball like you have in the past? 

“No. I knew I was going to be able to have opportunities to use my feet and run the ball, but if I don’t have to a couple of times, I just toss it to Jerome (Ford) and let him run it. So, it’s best for them to be able to get the ball in their hands and make plays. That’s what their skill positions are for. So instead of me taking off, I just give it to them and then whenever I need to, I can do that, too.”


How much confidence did you get when you let it rip on that 59 yarder to Amari (Cooper) and your arm held up and it went where it was supposed to? What kind of a confidence boost was that for you? 

“It wasn’t really a confidence boost. I already knew I can do that. So, like I said before, I’ve been preparing for the last six weeks to come out here and try to perform as best I can, and that’s how it was. I just stayed the course, blocked out the noise, and I know my body and I know the training staff and the medical protocols that we went through to get back to the stage.”


Kevin (Stefanski)said you and Amari (Cooper) drew up that last long one in the dirt. So, what went into that discussion and decision to go attack with that play? 

“Yeah, we just saw a look that was their kind of pressure of the day or kind of look of the day on third down, let’s try to double two. And they’ve been doing it all game and we had a couple of opportunities that I missed. Marquise (Goodwin) down the middle one time, I think another time where I flipped it, flipped the protection, they bluffed out. And then the second time they brought it, I didn’t get to flip it because the clock was going. So, we kind of knew that was their flavor of the day. And if we saw that same look, let’s match protect and let’s see if we get a shot. Just throw up you know, we just kind of drew it up on the sideline and it say that slant.”


That slant touchdown to Amari (Cooper) didn’t exactly go the way you drew it up, but just what’s going through your mind when you see it get deflected like that. And it seemed like hung up in the air forever, but Amari was able to come down with it.”

“Either make it hit the ground or two get it and two got it. So, it kind of worked out in our favor today. So it was awesome.”


In the euphoria of this victory and coming through everything, you guys may have lost Jed (Wills) for a long period of time. Can you just address the possibility of losing maybe your left tackle for a long period of time?

“Yeah, it’s tough. I mean, injuries, of course, it’s part of the game, but you never want any injuries like that. And praying for Jed and we all told him that we’re right here supporting him. He’s going to get through. I’m not sure what the injury is, but we’ll find out tomorrow. But we’re going to be right there supporting him. And whenever you get the opportunity to come back and get back on that field, I know he’s going to be ready to go. So just one of those plays where he got wrote up on and crazy injury.”


You mentioned you’re not 100% yet. Do you feel like you’ve been able are you past this now in terms of an injury for us a year, are you still concerned that one hit could start this all over again? 

“No. Like I said before, it’s part of football. One play can be a changing injury. So, like I said, when I step on the field, I’m not worried about that. I’m going out there and try to be the best I can be and try to make every throw and try to make sure that I go out there and have positivity for that energy for the offense. So, I’m not thinking about a hit or anything like that. I’m just going out there trying to execute the play.”


Is it nice to get this one under your belt and have a nice game and let it rip a couple of times, take some of those hits before you have to face Baltimore this coming week? 

“No, our main focus was Arizona. We wasn’t thinking about Baltimore, so we was focused on Arizona. We’re going to celebrate this win and then whenever we get back in the facility sometime next week, Tuesday, then we’ll focus on Baltimore. So, every win is a great win in the NFL, regardless of the record, regardless of the team, every win is hard to do. So yeah, we’re going to enjoy this and then later on this week, once we flip the page, after we watch the tape, focus on Baltimore.”


After all the talk about your shoulder, your shoulder, how nice is it as a competitor to get back on the field and put all that behind you this week? 

“It’s always good. Like I said before, I just didn’t listen to the outside noise because people don’t understand what’s going on. It’s just kind of whatever opinions they want to have, and they’re entitled to those opinions. So, for me, it wasn’t going to stop me for doing what I’m doing. So, I knew when I was going to be ready, and the opportunity came to speak and went out there and played pretty decent to help the team win.


What’d you say out of your defense? 

“Heck of a job. Just to get a goose egg in the NFL is tough to I mean, they did a great job, played complimentary football, special teams, did a good job of flipping the field, playing field position, and it was a complete game. Of course, we left a lot on the field, but it was good to be able to get this W.”


How helpful is a guy like Kareem (Hunt) who converted a bunch of short yard situations, scored his fifth touchdown, I think in like six weeks. Just what can you say about what he’s able to give you off the ground? 

‘That’s Reem, that’s what he do. He’s a tough running back, very smart, but he’s a competitor and he want to do whatever he can. He’s going to do the dirty job for the running backs, get the tough yards, and if he has the opportunity to get in the end zone, ge’s going to make sure you do that. So I like my chances with Kareem, especially on the goal line, for sure.”


With the defense being this good and the offense continuing to start to round into the form. What is the ceiling for this team? 

“There’s no ceiling, sky’s wide open. So, we’re going to go as far as we want to take us and we got to just keep stacking with it days, keep stacking these wins and focus on that. We don’t put a ceiling on ourselves, we don’t pick any limitations. So, like I said, we focus on what’s in Berea in that facility and we go from there, from that locker room.”


Did you have to push through a few early passes that didn’t go your way and just kind of just stay with it and keep grinding until it started to go better?

“I mean, that’s every game. Some games you start off ten straight. Some games you start off five in a row. That’s incomplete. That’s part of the game. That’s part of all that. So you just got to continue to just keep pushing through. It’s a long game, long 60 minutes, and things can happen. Things can change fast. So, yeah, you just kind of just keep working through it and then let the game come to you. Can’t force it.”


That play you and Amari (Cooper) drew up what’s it mean that Kevin (Stefanski) is willing to listen to you guys. You see something out there, you’re able to point it out, and he gives you the latitude to go ahead and drop what ended up being a pretty explosive play. 

“Yeah, he just knows he trusts what we see because we put the preparation in throughout the week, and that’s what we saw, and he wanted to make sure that he gave me the play and he gave me the opportunity to check it, and that’s what I did, and we capitalized on it. So, the more times we see that he trusts our preparation and we capitalize, then I think more opportunities. He will let us do that. So, it was cool.”


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