QB Deshaun Watson (12.8.22)


On the level of his nerves during his first game back:

“Not so much nerves, it is just trying to feel the game. I haven’t played in a while so being able to go out there in the live action and do a gameplan with guys coming after me and trying to get the ball. Just trying to settle in as much as I can and just try to do what I can do to make sure the offense is operating to help the team win.”


On reasons he believes he can be more successful in his second start of the season:

“I was able to get the feel of the game, the speed of the game, how defenses adjust and how we are going to be able to adjust. At the same time, it was my first time in a live action with (Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski). He has to feel how I feel, I have to feel how he feels and we have to be able to work on the same page and see the same thing through the same lenses. It was fun to be out there. Excited that we got a good team win. We are looking forward to trying to get another one this week.”


On what led to some low throws last week:

“It was just more mechanics, just my base, my shoulder plane and my shoulder leverage and keeping that up high. It was just all fundamentals with that.”


On if he expects to make a significant jump in improvement during his second start of the season:

“Like I said, I am just continuing to work each and every day, keep watching the film and keep going to practice every day trying to correct my fundamentals and get on the same page with Kevin and get on the same page with my receivers and the offense. Like I said, just keep improving each and every day. That is my biggest task.”


On sprinting between individual drills during yesterday’s practice and if he was trying to get everything up-tempo to get his mind and body going:

“Most definitely. Yes, sir. Just mind, body and everything – get my conditioning going, wearing pads, running and being able to move – because in practice and training camp, I didn’t really scramble much. In the live action, being able to have the scramble, come back and do another play, call the play in the huddle, operate and sometimes hand it off and sometimes do a pass play, I have to make sure that my conditioning is up. Any way I can just try to improve that, that is what I am going to do.”


On if last week’s game seemed to be moving really fast after not playing a regular season game in nearly two years:

“I wouldn’t say fast. It was just mostly being able to adjust. Like I said before, it was really just the conditioning level and being able to go out there, operate and see things like I have been seeing it before and then get on the same page with the whole offensive staff with what we want do with the gameplan to execute.”


On challenges wanting to be good with anticipation when throwing passes after not playing a regular season game in nearly two years and in his first game in an offensive system:

“It is pretty tough because every receiver is different, especially on different routes. With DPJ (WR Donovan Peoples-Jones), Coop (WR Amari Cooper) and D-Bell (WR David Bell), all of those guys are different route runners. Being able to know how they are going to come out, when they are going to come, how they are going to come out and where they are going to be, it takes a little bit of time. I have to be able to adjust quick, especially if we want to be successful. That is my mindset is just trying to get extra reps, watch extra tape, let them know what I am thinking and try to see what they are thinking on certain routes.”


On evaluating his footwork from last week’s game when watching film:

“It is overall just fundamentals – my footwork, making sure my base is staying tight as much as possible, making sure I am trusting the O line within the pocket and just making sure I am trusting my eyes and my feet. If I can do that and know where I want to go with the ball, then we can be very, very successful.”


On if the emotional elements of last week’s game and returning to Houston hit him more than anticipated:

“Last week, it was a lot – the anticipation to just be back on the field, the anticipation of going back to my former team, the anticipation of playing against former teammates and being in front of a crowd that used to cheer for me at the time. All of that stuff was definitely a lot. I am human so I definitely have things running through my mind and through just my soul in general. I am glad that is out of the way. I am glad we got the win. I am just trying to look forward to this week. It is going to be a hostile environment in Cincinnati. It is going to be fun. We just have to go out there and make sure we execute the gameplan.”


On getting reacclimated to on running and decision making with RPOs:

“Overall, just playing football. It is just being out there and just playing football, doing what I am doing and just finding myself, all of that stuff has to come back. Like I said last week, I don’t know when it is going to come back. I don’t know if it was going to be last week or this week. My job is to just keep getting better, and when it clicks, it click, and everyone will feel that. Like I said, keep improving and keep trying to be my best to make sure that the team is up to the challenge and trying to score points and win games.”


On if it is difficult to develop trust and chemistry with the OL solely in practice and if a lot of that progress occurs through game reps:

“It is definitely something that you have to develop in game reps because just like receivers, offensive lines set differently. (T) Jed (Wills Jr.) sets differently than (T) Jack (Conklin). The same with (Gs) Joel (Bitonio) and Wyatt (Teller). Then you have (G) Hjalte (Froholdt) up front. Everyone just has to be able to try to be in sync and one. That is how you have a successful offense, and you see a lot of teams that are very successful because they are all on the same page at the same time. If you can do that, then you can actually be successful. Hopefully, this week we can be a lot better, and I guarantee we will.”

On if his mobility changes how the Browns OL protects compared to a traditional drop-back passer:

“Not too much because you can’t go in there thinking that you are going to change or try to change because one guy is more mobile than the other guy. You have to just continue to stay fundamentally sound within the scheme and then let everything else kind of play out how it should be.”


On if he could rely on his running ability more while continuing to develop the right chemistry with Browns skill players in the passing game:

“I just let the game come to me. If it allows me to make plays with my feet and my legs, then I am going to do that. If I need to sit in the pocket and make the throws, I am going to do that. I can’t go into a game thinking I am going to do one more than the other. I just have to let the game come to me so we can try to be successful.”


On the significance of this week’s ‘must-win’ game against the Bengals to the season coming in his second start:

“Every game is a must-win as we think about it in the locker room. We are trying to be 1-0 each and every week, regardless of if it is Week 1 or regardless if it is Week 17 or Week 14. Every week is a must-win because you don’t want to go out there thinking, ‘Hey, if we don’t win this, it doesn’t matter.’ Every team is very, very good. Every team is talented in the NFL. Everyone is getting paid to do their job. Everyone wants to have a job next year regardless of how much you are getting paid or you or not. Every week is a must-win. We are going into this situation ready to win and just go out there and play ball.”


On if one game is enough experience to make dramatic improvements with connections with Browns skill players in his second start:

“I don’t think it is ever enough, but it is enough to be able to be talking, be able to adjust and be able to see how things kind of unfolded with that game. Every week, you have to know that you are going against a different defensive coordinator so you have to be able to adjust from that end, too. The most you can do is get on the practice field, throw routes and try to convert that timing and then watch as much tape as you can and communicate outside of the building without going into any deeper schemes like that but staying within the scheme and just talking outside of the building. I think that is the biggest thing we do and then go out there Sunday and just try to play loose and do it fast.”


On if he was more sore than usual after last week’s game due to not taking hits in a significant period of time:

“I got hit. It felt like a regular game. Came in, did my treatment and did what I needed to do to recover and get ready for this week. I feel good.”


On if he was worried about not having contact for a significant period of time prior to last week’s game:

“No, sir. I was not too much worried about that. Not at all.”


On if he blocks out or embraces the atmosphere when playing in a hostile road environment:

“My main focus is just being out there and just executing the game plan. I am so locked in and tunnel vision where half of time I don’t even hear it. I am just focusing on making sure I call the right play and get the operation going so we can try to be successful.”


On the Bengals defense:

“They are playing really good football. Overall at everything – defense and offense – you have to give them credit. They have been doing everything that they needed to do to pull out the wins, big wins especially. We just have to go in there and make sure that we have a sense of urgency, and we have to go out there and try to slow them down offensively and then we have to put up points. That is the biggest thing. You have to give Cincinnati credit. They are doing a heck of a job to finish wins and finish games. We have to go in there and try to get ourselves a win.”


On having a concerted focus on the mental aspect of his game during the past few months and if he is now able to focus more on the physical aspects of playing the game after completing his first start of the season:

“Overall, just everything. When I was away from football, physically I was doing that pretty much every day, and you have to take some time off. You don’t want to overdo your body. At the same time, mentally was the biggest thing because I wasn’t in the meetings and I wasn’t in the film room so I was not able to get that. That was most important. Now I am being back in the building being able to play on Sundays, I have to have a balance and be able to have both of those. Both of those are definitely the priorities, and I am going to try, like I said before, just continue to improve as much as I can.”


On if there is ‘extra juice’ when playing opposite a QB the caliber of Bengals QB Joe Burrow:

“I get juiced each and every week regardless of who I am going against. My job is to go out there and play against their defense. I know they have a great guy who went to the Super Bowl. He is playing hot right now. Like I said, you have to give Joe Burrow all the credit. At the same time, my main focus is trying to find whatever that defensive weakness is and just try to score points for the Cleveland Browns, and the defense, they have to take care of all of that. For me, it is just mostly focusing on that defense.”


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