QB Deshaun Watson (12.14.22)


On his mindset heading into his first home start with the Browns:

“My mindset, I am very excited. This is something that is the reason why I picked to come to Cleveland to play in front of the best fans in the world. I have been hearing things, I have been seeing it on TV, I have been seeing it from afar and from different players and from guys who are new to this team this year also, just like myself. They talk about it and the experience so I am looking forward to being able to play in front of them.”


On if he improved from his first start to second start:

“Of course. That is the key to the game is just being able to improve each and every week. This is an improve-it league. You don’t want to kind go down each and every week. Last week was definitely an improvement. Of course, we want to score more points and win the game, but if you speak individually, yeah, it was definitely an improvement, but I have a long way to go.”


On specific areas where he improved last week compared to his first start:

“Just everything – the mechanics to the operation of the offense to decision making to completing balls on time. Just everything was just a complete improvement for my game.”


On not fully knowing when he will be back to full speed but how close he is to returning to his level of performance in 2020:

“I am not close to where I [want to be] at, and I don’t want to be where I was in 2020 – I want to be better. I have a long way to go. I want to continue to improve. I want to be that player whenever I step on the field that no one can stop us. That is my mentality, but we have to continue to go out there and continue to show that and try to do that and not just talk about it but actually prove it on the field. I am nowhere near where I want to be. This team also is nowhere near where we want to be. We have to continue to just keep growing and finish the season strong.”


On if it is tough not being able to put a specific timetable on when he will be able to return to his desired level of performance:

“No, I don’t put limits on myself. I don’t put timetables on myself. Like I said, each and every day I just try to find a way to improve. If that is mentally, if that is leadership or if that is student of the game, play calling, getting on the same page with (Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski), AVP (offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt) and those guys, every day is an opportunity for me to improve so I don’t want to put any limits or timetable on myself because I am setting myself up for disappointment or something like that if I don’t meet that timeline.”


On wanting to be more explosive on offense, given WR Amari Cooper’s comment yesterday about getting more ‘fireworks’ in the offense:

“Of course, that is what we want to aim for is being able to be explosive and get those big chunks downfield each and every time. Before we do that, we have to do the little things right. That is taking the little easy plays that the defense gives us and the run game and getting that going. Once we can kind of put all of that together, then the big plays are going to take care of itself. If we can do the little things right, then the big things will take care of itself. I agree with Amari, that is what we want and that is what we have the athletes and the talent to be able make those explosive plays. We just have to go out there make sure we go out there and do it.”


On if he is acclimated to the cold weather yet:

“Yeah, it is a little chilly, but when I am on the field, I just am so locked in on football so I am not worried about the weather.”


On it being a mild winter in Cleveland so far this year:

“Hopefully, it stays that way (laughter).”


On challenges presented by the Ravens defense:

“They present a lot of challenges. This is a defense that it is very hard to find a weakness. They are talented all across the board so you have to give them credit from the D line, linebackers and to the secondary, and they can just roll guys in. I think the biggest thing for them is they have depth. Regardless if somebody goes out, there is another guy who comes in and plays very, very well. We are up for the challenge. That is the point of playing in this division. Each and every week, Cincinnati last week, Baltimore this week and the same with Pittsburgh, guys are very, very talented, they have great defenses and the coordinators are very, very good so we have a challenge on our hands, and we are going to go out there and try to succeed.”


On the AFC North’s reputation for physical style of play and balancing personally being physical and aggressive with protecting himself in division games:

“That is the name of the game is just availability. If I am not available, I can’t help the team. That goes for everybody. At the same time, you have to be physical and you have to be smart. From my position being the quarterback, I am not going and try and to run over the safety. That is not me. I just slide and get onto the next play. I will leave that to [running backs] and the receivers if they want to do all of that. For me, I am just trying to make sure I am getting up for the next play so I can stay on the field as much as possible to try to help the team win.”


On evaluating his conditioning after two starts and expectations for it to continually improve:

“That is something that each and every week just continuing to try to improve on that one. It was definitely a lot better last week than it was the previous week. I am going to continue to just improve my conditioning and my stamina so I can be able to go out, do long drives and communicate the operation of the offense.”


On if there have been opportunities for explosive plays in his first two starts and why the Browns offense has not been able to capitalize on as many big plays as desired in the past two weeks, including the factor of timing:

“You have to look at the schemes of the defense. Houston didn’t allow us to have any big shots. Cincinnati did the same thing. With the two shots we wanted, they got back, they cut the crossers and slingshot the corners. Teams are doing a good job of trying to take that away because they know exactly from previous when I was in Houston that was something that I was very, very successful with. Those opportunities, we have to come up, we have to see it, we have to hit it and we just have to not hope for it but whenever those opportunities pop up, you just have to make sure we take it.”


On if the best aspect of his game is the ability to throw the ball downfield:

“It is one of them for sure.”


On Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey’s comment about wanting to give him a ‘not so soft welcome’ to the AFC North and the rivalry:

“I just heard that when I walked into the locker room. Of course, that is the key of the game. They have to do their job to try to rattle me and rattle everyone else around. That is the fun of the game. I love to compete. I love to go out there. They are going to try to rattle me, and I am going to do the same thing.”


On if playing the Ravens earlier in his career felt like a ‘different brand of football’ due to their physical style:

“No, not at all. They did what they had to do against us in Houston. I think 2019 when we went to Baltimore, they put numbers on us, and then in 2020 they came to Houston – it was Week 2 – they beat us by [17; Ravens 33, Texans 16]. They did whatever they needed to do to get that victory and put points on the board, and we didn’t do our job when I was in Houston. This is a new opportunity, a new challenge and a whole different new team. I am looking forward to the challenge.”


On what would help make it a successful season if the Browns do not reach the postseason:

“Just trying to improve each and every day. That is my mindset. I can’t control how the rankings, status and things like that. The only thing I can control is just try to win on Sundays. If we can win on Saturday these two weeks and finish out the season strong then who knows what can happen. If we make it or not, that is something that we just have to let things play out.”


On if he is becoming more comfortable with the Browns offense and Head Coach Kevin Stefanski as offensive play caller:

“Yeah, each and every day is an opportunity for us to get more comfortable and see different things with different schemes that we are going against and what he is thinking and what I am thinking. It has only been two and a half weeks of me and Kevin really working together so the sky is the limit. We just have to keep trying to work and improve.”


On comparing the development of timing between deep throws and short to intermediate routes:

“Everything is about timing at the end of the day. At the end of the day for me as a quarterback, I have to anticipate because there are injuries that happen and things that happen. You might be out there with a guy who hasn’t practiced with you all week. I say timing is definitely key, but that is something in my mind that I don’t really try to process because everybody needs to be in the same spot we need to be in when that play is being called. Things happen, but I don’t want to make any type of excuse of, ‘Hey, this is all about timing,’ and things like that. At the end of the day, we have to make the plays, and I have got to make the throws.”


On expectations for his reception from Browns fans on Saturday, including the potential for positive and negative responses:

“I am not even sure. My main objective for this weekend is going out there and just showing this crowd and showing the Cleveland fans and this city that we are going out there to compete and this season is not over for us. I can’t control what the reaction is going to be. I am not sure what it is going to be. Like I said, I am excited to go out there, play football and get back in the old school uniforms and the white facemasks and things like that and have a little bit of fun and just try to make the Saturday something special for Cleveland.”


On how his ability to extend plays impacts the Browns OL and his communication with the Browns OL to ensure everyone is on the same page, including to minimize potential holding penalties when leaving the pocket:

“It is not so much me telling them anything because I kind of just play the game how I react. If I sit there and try to tell them, ‘Hey, this is what we are going to do,’ and then they might be thinking of something totally different and if I do not do that, then we are not on the same page. I think it is a feel thing. It is a feel like, ‘Hey, in this situation in this protection, D-Wat is going to be sitting in the pocket on this side of the hash or vice versa.’ I think it is kind of just all feel and having me react to certain situations and going through live reps. Once you feel that out, then the whole line kind of figures out what they have to do to make sure that we don’t get those holding penalties.”


On the Browns and Dee and Jimmy Haslam stating weather conditions were a potential factor to overcome when looking to acquire him and how much he considered weather when determining options of where to play:

“My main focus was what is the best situation for me and what is the best situation for the organization to win a Super Bowl. I felt like Cleveland was the best situation. That is something that he asked me for sure, but I told him at the end of the day it is football. You can get any weather in any situation other than playing in a dome. For me, my main focus was just what is the locker room like, what is the organization like and how can we go win a Super Bowl. That was my main focus, and that is why I chose Cleveland.


On specifying who asked him about his thoughts on playing in Cleveland’s weather conditions:

“The Haslams, they asked me about the weather. That is what I told them, the weather is not a priority right now. My priority is teammates, locker room, coaching staff and what is the best opportunity for me to go win a Super Bowl.”


On how much weather conditions are a factor and challenge as a QB in Cleveland:

“Like I said, of course, it is a challenge. I would be crazy if I sat up here and said it is not a challenge, but not just for me, it is for the opponent, also. Baltimore has to come in and deal with the same weather as we do. We just have to go out there, put the weather to the side and just try to make as many plays as we can.”


On recollections from the Browns-Texans game in 2020 played in challenging weather conditions, including the game being delayed:

“That was crazy. That was something I was nowhere close to expecting and wasn’t used to. It was like five different weather changes in an hour. It was pretty nuts.”


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