QB Deshaun Watson (12.1.22)


Opening statement:

“First off, I just want to say I am excited to be back. I am excited to be back around my teammates. I also want to thank the Browns organization, the ownership, my teammates in that locker room and all of the coaching staff for all of the support that they had for me, especially my time away. I also want to thank all of my trainers, all of my personal trainers outside when I was going away who helped me stay in shape and grind to put in the work so I am prepared when I come back. Thanks also to 3 Performance trainers who were out there throwing with me during my time away. I also want to thank all of the Cleveland fans and the City of Cleveland for embracing me but also helping me adapt to the community. It has been awesome and it has been great being out, going to dinners and to social places being able to hang out with some of the fans and interact with them. I also just want to thank everyone that has been sending out some positive energy towards my way. I understand you guys have a lot of questions, but with my legal team and my clinical team, there is only football questions that I can really address at this time. I also want to thank most importantly (QB) Jacoby (Brissett). The big brother he has been to me and everyone in that locker room, the passion, the grit and the leadership he has shown these past weeks – everyone has been seeing seen it – he is the ultimate guy that everyone wants to follow. He has been awesome for me. Our relationship has been great. The bond has been great. We are going to continue to grow from there and help win some more football games for the Cleveland Browns. I am open to answering any football questions.”


On what he learned about himself through counseling and therapy sessions during the suspension:

“I respect your question and I understand, but that is more in that phase of clinical and legal stuff, and I have been advised to stay away from that and keep that personal.”


On playing his first game for the Browns in Houston:

“I am excited. I am excited to just play football in general in front of Cleveland Browns fans but also in front of some of the Houston Texans fans. I respect the whole organization of the Houston Texans. I respect the McNair family. I respect everyone that was there that drafted me in 2017. It has been great memories and fun memories. I still have a home in Houston. I still have friends and family still in Houston and relationships that are still there. Some of the players on the team who I played with or seen come up from maybe practice squad or from injuries. I am excited to get in front all of those fans. I have so much love for the City of Houston and H-Town, and everyone in that city pretty much knows that. I am excited to do that, but the most important thing is I am excited to be in front of the Cleveland Browns fans for sure.”


On his message to fans who don’t believe that he should be the face of an NFL franchise:

“Like I said, I am focusing on football. That is my main focus is football and preparing to be the starting quarterback of the Cleveland Browns so I can execute the gameplan to try to get a win on Sunday.”


On if it was important for him to come back from suspension to play the Texans when agreeing to settle     terms with the NFL:

“No, I was just trying whatever I could do to play football in 2022. Most of the settlement stuff with the NFL was mostly my agency and legal team. I had no control. My main focus was doing everything I needed to do to so I could play this year.”


On his expected reaction or atmosphere in Houston:

“I am not sure. My main focus is locked in on the gameplan, trying to execute and make sure that I am keeping the standard the standard for the Cleveland Browns so we can try to win.”


On if there was an aspect of his game he wanted to improve most before returning from suspension:

“I think my biggest focus was the mental part of the game. Staying locked in on defensive schemes. Staying locked in also as much as I can with the scheme that we have here with the Cleveland Browns and with (Head Coach) with Kevin (Stefanski). Trying to watch from afar and learn and see what Jacoby was seeing on the field. During every Sunday, I watched every game like I was preparing myself to play. I kind of knew exactly what was going on. I was not in on those meetings early on in the year, but once I was able to be in those meetings, I was basically preparing like I was a starter that week and asking Jacoby questions, what he sees and the different things that he experienced during the games. I think that was very, very helpful.”


On how he will be able to focus mentally in expected hostile environment on Sunday:

“Like I said, I am focusing on just being the starting quarterback and executing the gameplan. That is my main focus. I am not worried about the atmosphere. I have to go in and make sure I execute the gameplan.”


On if he will address non-football questions in the future, given he has previously said he ‘wants to share his side of the story’:

“Like I said, at this time, I can’t address any of that stuff. Who knows what the future holds, but right now, I am so locked in on just being the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns.”


On how he will be able to knock off the rust since his last regular season game:

“Honestly, I am not sure. This is my first time having time off. My biggest focus is just going out there, and just really whatever Kevin calls, make sure I am executing, taking it one play at a time, and let the game come to me, not press or anything like that.”


On how he can add to the Browns offense to help make it more explosive:

“I just really try to make as many plays as I can. If that is with my feet or with my arm or if that is handing the ball off to No. 24 (RB Nick Chubb) or No) 27 (RB Kareem Hunt) or whatever I need to do to try to make this offense continue to do what they are doing. Like I said before, Jacoby, I think our offense is in the top five in pretty much every category. I have to hold up to that standard and do everything that I can, don’t try to do anything special and just try to let the game come to me and execute whatever needs to be for the quarterback.”


On if he feels the responsibility to ‘right the ship’ for the Browns with a 4-7 record:

“I think my biggest responsibility – like I said before is and just keep reiterating – is just doing what the scheme allows me to do, and that is executing the gameplan, getting the ball to the playmakers’ hands and just try to win and try to put up points, more points than the other opponent. I I continue to do that… We can’t focus on the next game, we can’t focus on two games or three games down the road. We have to worry about being 1-0 this week and focus on that.”


On the most important aspect of staying prepared to play while away from the building and since last playing a regular season NFL game:

“Like I said, mostly it is the mental part of the game, understanding it, adapting and adjusting to different schemes and defenses that coordinators are trying to do not just for our scheme and our system but for everybody. I watched everybody. I watched a lot of different quarterbacks. I watched (Chiefs QB Patrick) Mahomes, I watched (Dolphins QB) Tua (Tagovailoa) and I watched all of these guys playing that are playing every Sunday, and I try to learn from everyone. I am not the guy that kind of [watches] just myself. I like to watch other quarterbacks, and I am a fan of a lot of different quarterbacks around the league. I have so much respect for everyone. I want everyone to succeed so I can be able to learn from them and apply it to my game.”


On the most important physical aspect of being prepared to play while away from the building and since last playing a regular season NFL game:

“Physically, staying in shape, running, throwing the ball as much as I can and making sure my arm is in shape to throw however many footballs I need to throw on Sunday. Lifting weights. That is pretty much it. Just constantly working out.”


On takeaways from the three offensive series he played during the preseason at Jacksonville and the differences playing in that game compared to a regular season game:

“Our biggest plan for that three series was just operational – hearing (Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski) in the headset, being able to adapt to how he was calling plays and how different personnel groupings are coming in. That was our biggest thing, not so much of trying to do what it is for a gameplan. It is still preseason. We were still trying to figure out who we are as an offense. My first time hearing Kevin in the headset, that is what we wanted to do. I think it was maybe nine or 10 plays. Of course, we wanted to be more successful, but at that time, that is something that we can learn, and that is why it is called preseason.”


On his takeaways from watching Browns offensive players during the first 11 games of the season:

“It is exciting. You can see it on Sundays that they play with a high motor. Everyone is playing together. It is one unit. I also got to go through spring and training camp with them so I kind of knew the locker room and how those guys were going to play, but watching them on Sundays, the game is never over. Those guy are going to continue to play until the final whistle. I am excited to be able to try to bring that and prove that energy as much as I can with those guys, also.”


On if his time away from the team made him appreciate more who he is and what he has:

“I am always appreciative. I am always thankful for what I have. My mom went through tongue cancer when I was 14 years old, and she never smoked a day in her life. I have always been appreciative. I grew up with pretty much nothing if you knew my background story. Every step I make each and every day and every time I wake up, I thank the Lord because I am a God fearing man, and I know who my Lord and Savior is. That is my main focus each and every day. When I wake up, I give Him thanks, and I thank everyone around me who helped me get to this moment because I didn’t do it by myself.”


On thanking the Browns organization in his introductory press conference for believing in him as a player and the type of person he is and how close he is to being the version of himself on the football as two years ago:

“We will have to see Sunday honestly. Like I said, it might take time or it might not take time. I just want to go out there, do what I want to do and make plays as much as I possibly can. Two years is definitely a long time, but at the same time, I have been doing this since I was six years old. Just like riding a bike, I am going to go out there, just find the pedals, get my transition going and then let everything come to me, don’t press it and don’t make anything bigger than what it really is.”


On if he learned anything about the Browns offensive system and where he fits into it while watching the past 11 games, recognizing he spent significant time in the offense during the spring and training camp:

“Yeah, the biggest thing is it is definitely a quarterback-driven system, and we have guys around the quarterback who can make plays. You don’t have to do anything special. Just follow the rules that he wants you to follow, get the ball in the playmakers’ hands and let them do work. The O line has been doing a heck of a job of supporting and protecting the quarterback as much as possible and opening up the run game for (RB) Nick Chubb. He is third in the league for rushing, and for a while, he was No. 1. It is a great system to be in, I am happy to be in it and I am just going to continue each and every day to learn as much as I can and continue to grow, not just for this system but as a quarterback and as a leader.”


On if his accuracy is his best attribute, given Browns teammates have said that is the case:

“My biggest thing is really just try to anticipate the throws, knowing where guys are going to be and knowing how the defense is going to play each and every route. If I can [maximize] that and try to get down the detail of how those things are going to do in certain situations, then I can place the ball where it needs to be for the receivers to make the catch. I think that is the biggest thing. I have always been trying to adapt to that, and I know that is timing and just repetition and film work. I just try to watch film with those guys all week so they can see exactly what I am seeing.”


On if he is getting the timing down in the Browns offense:

“Yes, sir. Yes, sir.”


On Chubb and Hunt in the backfield and if opportunities in the run gam for him and the Browns RBs:

“I think there are some big opportunities for both of us. They do a good job of feeding off each other. It is going to help us overall in the offense. Being balanced, being able to pass the ball and being able to run the ball is awesome. I have been watching Nick since high school. Me and him came out together, and I have been watching him since high school and college.  It has been a long time for me. Now having an opportunity for me to play with him for the first time is super fun. Then you have Kareem who me just being in the huddle with him, he just makes everybody more comfortable and more relaxed because that is just who he is. Of course, he takes the game serious, but the way he approaches and carries himself, he helps all of us in the huddle. He is a playmaker who can do it all, too.”


On working to get on the same page with WRs Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones and Browns skill players during the past two weeks of practice:

“My biggest thing when I first got back in the building is hearing how Jacoby talked to them and hearing how they watched film and hearing how Amari, DPJ, D-Bell (WR David Bell) and all of the other receivers and tight ends talk to Jacoby and what they are saying. Then whenever my opportunity came for this week to step into that starting role, I didn’t want to really change anything too much. Me and Jacoby talked with those guys, we watched tape after practice and they are seeing what I am seeing. I am able to stand up in the meetings and let them know what I see. If they have anything or if they see anything different, then let’s be able to have that communication and that relationship where we can talk and adapt and not be so much of robots in the system. It is awesome for Kevin and AVP (offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt) to be able to allow that for the players to do that.”


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