QB Deshaun Watson (4.18.23)

On how the offseason has started for him:

“It’s been well. Yesterday, it was good to see everyone–the coaching staff, the front office, the players, teammates. It’s good to be around them, laugh a little bit, talk about our offseason and things like that. It was good to be back in the building.”


On if everything is more comfortable for him this year:

“Most definitely. I have a vision that me, the staff and this organization want to go in. Last year, it was just a whirlwind, but it was a good learning lesson for myself and for me to be able to grow. Coming in this year, I’m ahead of the game from where I was previously.”


On how much he was able to get together with teammates this offseason in Houston:

“Pretty much this whole offseason. Started in February when I started training and throwing, guys were coming in. Some guys stayed the whole time. Some guys were already there training. Some guys would fly in for a week, fly back out and come back later on. Pretty much all of the receivers came through at least once and that was a good sign to see.”


On how much different the offense will look this year:

“I’m not sure. That’s still in the works of what (HC) Kevin (Stefanski) and A.V.P (OC Alex Van Pelt) want to do and myself. Once we get all the guys here, we will see how this roster is going to turn and then we will have a decision on how that offense is going to look. We don’t want to go in planning ‘this is how it’s going to look’ and if it doesn’t work, then we have to be open to be able to adjust all the time.”


On people questioning how talented he still is:

“I don’t say anything. That’s their own opinions. I know who I am, this organization knows who I am and the guys that I play with know who I am. Everyone has their own opinions of what they want to say or how they want to–just the fact of last year. At the end of the day, I have an opportunity to go out there and prove what I need to prove in 2023. That’s what I’m focused on. I’m not focused on what anybody else has to say.”

On the new additions to the offense:

“We have guys who have experience. We have guys who made a lot of plays for their organizations they’ve been a part of. We have guys who want to come in here and work. Last year, we were very young. With those additions, we have more experience, speed and talent. It’s going to bring up everyone else. Just have to get the ball in their hands and let them make plays. That’s what I want to do.”

On continuing to talk to Stefanski and Van Pelt about the offense:

“Every day is an open conversation for all of us. Today’s meetings, we were the same way. Getting to know how he thinks, how I think, studying defenses, studying this offense and what we want to do this season. We had plenty of talks from when I came in the building last year to now. We want to continue to build that relationship and continue to build our trust in each other. If all three of us are on the same page, I think we can be very successful.”

On having WR Amari Cooper back and healthy:

“I’m very excited. He is one of the best route runners, if not the best route runner in the game. With his experience, his talent and the way he played last year before he got hurt–even when he got hurt, he was still making plays. I am excited to be able to have him full-go this season. We are going to spend a lot of time with each other. Once he gets fully healthy, we can really put the time in and the work.”


On having Van Pelt back:

“It’s definitely good. it’s not too big of a change. (Cardinals OC) Drew (Petzing) did a heck of a job. he’s going to do a heck of a job down in Arizona. Best of luck to Drew, his family and that organization. A.V.P., he has a different style of coaching and teaching. He played the game at this level also. With him being around guys that plays at the highest of the highest levels, being in Green Bay and Cincinnati. Then, coming back here is definitely key for me. I want to learn from him and the guys he was around when he was playing, but also the guys he coached. I think we can really make something happen and do some great things together.”


On how much different this year feels:

“It’s night and day. Last year, I had only been to Cleveland twice–when I came on a pre-visit and when we played. Outside of that, it was my first time up here with everything going on. All of that is in the past, like I said before, and I’m looking to move forward with my life and my career, just being able to really plant myself in this community, this city and also in this organization for a very long time. Win a whole bunch of games.”


On if he feels like he’s connecting with the community:

“Most definitely. During my offseason, I have been doing stuff. Everything doesn’t have to be filmed or put out on social media. I was just in the community last week. Last week, we went down to the Fatima Family Center over there by the park. That was cool. I had never been in that area before, so it was good to be around those kids. We had some older citizens also in there that had a good time. We signed things and spent good time together. I am definitely looking forward to just continuing to be around and show who I really am.”

On his mindset:

“I’m healthy. I am great. I am happy. I am blessed to be in this position I am. Anything that has to do with the legal side, I let my legal team deal with that. My main focus is continuing to grow as an individual, as a person and just continuing to grow as a football player. If I continue to do that, and look forward and look at all the positive things round me, then I know things can continue to be blessings that surround me.”


On getting QB Josh Dobbs back and his thoughts on QB Jacoby Brissett going to Washington:

“It was awesome, starting with Jacoby having the opportunity in Washington. It’s funny because I train with Quincy (Avery), Quincy knows Jacoby and I know Jacoby. During training sessions, we would FaceTime all the time. It would be me, Jacoby, Geno Smith and Josh Dobbs kind of on FaceTime while we were training. All supporting each other. Best of luck to Jacoby and what he’s going to do in Washington. He’s going to be a great addition to that locker room.

Having Dobbs back, I have been around Dobbs since I was in high school, growing up in the same area. It’s good to see him come back and what he did whenever he was away from the building for that short period of time for Tennessee was dope to see. It’s good to have the guys around me and good to see the guys have success and opportunities.”

On if there was a period of time last year when he and the team were still learning how to play with each other:

“Of course. We still are going to continue to grow. I play a little bit different style than the previous quarterbacks here. The play calling is going to be different. It’s a different style of quarterback play that Kevin has been around. He had Kirk Cousins, Case Keenum and then went from Baker (Mayfield) to Jacoby and then to me. It’s different styles of playing–what I was doing in Houston. It’s always growing. We are always continuing to try to find ways to improve. We are going to have our battles and our challenges, but you have to be able to adjust and move forward from that.”


On TE Jordan Atkins:

“Atkins, he’s a playmaker. He’s a guy who has played a lot of ball, made some big plays down in Houston when I was there and even last year. Having this addition to an already stout tight end group, with Chief (David Njoku), Harrison (Bryant) and Zaire (Mitchell-Paden). That’s a a great room to be around and a great opportunity for them to be able to take their room and that position to a whole other level in this offense.”

On Eagles QB Jalen Hurts’ contract:

“It was dope. I’m excited for him. He’s definitely a friend of mine. We’ve trained together. We’ve hung out together. I sent him a congratulations and told him dinner is on him when we go to Philly and he said it’s on him. I took care of it last year. this year, he’s got to take care of it. It’s definitely good to be able to see him–he deserves every penny. All the other guys who are up next deserve it too.”


On if he feels about what is going on with QB Lamar Jackson and Baltimore:

“I reach out to Lamar all the time. We talk through texts, through Instagram. We do not really talk about the business side because that is his space and his privacy. From the outside looking in–I hope he gets what he wants. Like I said, I have never talked to him about it, so I can’t speak on his business side, but he is a great player and he is going to be if it is back in Baltimore. He is going to be special for them and if it is somewhere else, then he is going to be special for that organization. He is a talent that the NFL needs and we love to watch him play, unless we are playing against him. I hope he gets what he wants and what he deserves and I think he deserves everything.”


On the best part about being with his teammates in Berea:

“I think it is just that bond and that chemistry. It is not so much about football. It is really that brotherhood that we build being around each other in the offseason. You have more time to really get to know this guy. You are not just training. A lot of guys are resting, going home and seeing families. Guys are coming over and we are training, then we are going out to eat. We are going to dinners. We are hanging out in social places. I think that is the biggest thing and once we get back here that chemistry and that vibe, it just takes it to a whole other level, because we know how we are going to react in certain situations. We have to continue to build that, even when we get back here, and that is the beauty of having that offseason and having guys come around.”


On the addition of defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz:

“It is huge. He is guy that won a Super Bowl with Philly, so he has been at the highest of the highest and that is what I feel like this organization needed. I think this is what that locker room needed. Not just for the defensive side but for the offense–so we can compete. We can go out there and be aggressive. We can go out there and talk trash, but be healthy at the same time. Then, a guy that has been around and knows this game and is going to challenge that defensive side is going to challenge us each and every week. If he can rise that defense to whole other level, we can do the same thing offensively and as a team for all three phases: special teams, defense and offense can do that. Then, we can have a successful season.”


On what did he mean in his comments towards the Browns’ social media page about ‘magical things are going to happen in 2023’:

“A lot of wins. A lot of W’s. Having an opportunity to get in the playoffs. And once we get into that and the big dance, then anything can happen. I am not the type to always make promises and things like that, so I am not going to sit up here and do that, but the biggest thing is to win a lot of games. Like Jim said in his press conference: one of the biggest things that the city wants is to be able to have that parade at the end of the year. So that is the ultimate goal, but we have steps and things and work to put in before we get there. That is what I meant about that.”


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