QB Deshaun Watson (6.7.23)

How much improvement do you feel you’ve made or how much further ahead are you at this time last year? 

I’m pretty far ahead of where I was last year. Last year was, as far as football, being on the field, just running a new system, trying to adapt to different teammates, different players, how guys run routes, how Kevin calls the plays, and just being able to process the game at the speed I know. Being a year in and being able to talk to Kevin and AVP about what we want to do and being confident about it, it allows me to play a little bit faster when I’m on the field.


Just how much fun are you having out there and how good do you feel? 

I feel really good. Like I said before, the biggest thing is the confidence level. Who I am trusting, what I do trust in the work that I put in these past couple of years to get back to this position I’m in. And have the opportunity to go out there and try to win some games and do it with the guys that we have on the field. So I’m enjoying myself, I’m having fun, and I just keep stacking days.


You also mentioned the confidence. Is that something that you always knew would come back?

Most definitely, because this is for anybody, if you stop doing something for so long, you just naturally lose that confidence because you haven’t been playing at that level. So you forget your body and your muscle memory, forget how fast and how to do things, but it never loses it. So whenever I got back on the field last year, I was building that confidence up. Took a break, came back, tried to build it back up. But having this offseason and being full throttle definitely have caught back up with me. Like I said before, I just keep stacking days.


It looked to me like the receivers were outstanding yesterday. Do you agree with that? 

Of course. Everyone in that locker room, especially the receivers, the skilled guys, the tight ends, even the running backs have been locked in. And it starts with me, it starts with the quarterback room, with me, Josh, Kellen, and DT. We got to come up here and lead the guys in the huddle, have that confidence, that energy, and as we do that, then the receiver is going to do that and they know that everyone can get the ball. It doesn’t matter who’s in the game. Amari, Elijah, Mike Harley, anybody. Ced, if he’s out there, he’s able to get the ball. You got to be full speed, got to know what to do and be ready to catch the ball when it comes. So it all starts with the quarterback position.


Have you had a couple of those moments yourself where you’re like, okay, that’s me? 

I guess you can say that. I try not to get too high, not too low. I just try to stay balanced. Of course, I have some excitement with a couple of throws and all that, but at the same time I’m just training myself, regardless of how good that throw was or how bad it was, I always stay balanced because that’s what you’re going to have to do in the game. It’s always the next play. So just getting back to the basics of my mentality of what I was before and that’s what I just continued.


Deshaun, where do things stand with DeAndre Hopkins? Do you have any idea if the Browns are pursuing him and obviously you still want him, but can you update us?

I have no idea. That’s more of an AB or Kevin question, but for me, I have no idea where that stands. But like I said last week, of course we would love to have him and we’ll see how things go.



Man, Hop, me and him have always had that relationship. So me and him are locked in. That’s my brother. I talked to him yesterday because it was his birthday, but nothing about football, just about life and just how he can just enjoy his day and more blessings.


We asked you at the golf outing, if you’ve shaken off the rust. After these two days, are you more prepared to answer that question? 

I am not. Figure it out Week 1 in Cleveland Browns Stadium against Cincinnati, that’s when I can really–after that game, we can see where things are going. But right now it’s still OTAs, minicamp and still the offseason. So we have a long way to go before I can answer that.


You went to The Greenbrier twice with Houston. Other than it’s a neat place, what’s the benefit of going there? Why did you speak up for it? 

Well, I didn’t even know that were going there until I met with Kevin when we came back. But whenever we did, I just knew that the biggest thing what we did in Houston was build that chemistry and guys got to spend time with each other. But we are already doing that here and we just take it to Greenbrier where it’s kind offsetting and we spend a little bit more time together doing activities together, going golf and bowling. They have different activities there, so it’ll be good for they kind of get away from Cleveland a little bit and just kind of build that chemistry before we start the season.


I know we’ve gotten to see Marquise’s vertical speed. Like when you have a guy like that, who can run routes like that, how does it open up your offense as a whole for you in the pass game? 

It can be scary, because the secondary and the defense have to watch out for them. So you have to make sure you get your depth if you’re playing defense and keep your eyes on whatever you got, whatever that defense is trying to do. So it kind of opens up other guys underneath, because if that guy runs by and if we can hit those deep shots, that can open up the run game and also the intermediate and short game in the pass.


I mean, that one throw to him in OTAs, you did your bow and arrow celebration. I know people were pointing that out on social media. Something like that, just like a sign of you getting back into it, feeling more comfortable with what you’re doing out there? 

Definitely. I’m getting comfortable with the position I’m in, getting comfortable being here in Cleveland and in this organization. And just my personality over time is going to continue to show and people are going to get to know me, like I mentioned last year. But all that time is patience and over the days, as we continue to work and stack and keep improving, more and more of that stuff will come up.


Going off of that, you’re talking about comfortability. What areas specifically on the field are you feeling like you’re gaining more confidence? 

Just the mental game, the mental aspect. I think last year was just a little bit slower because I was trying to catch up with all the guys whenever I came back, Week 13 or 12, whatever it was. Just really just trying to pick up the speed of the game and just my eyes and placement. Those little things that people don’t see and don’t realize that kind of go into the reps in the mental game, especially playing a quarterback position. So all that is picking up and just got to continue to work at it.


Can you estimate how much of the offensive playbook is absolutely new to this year? 



Deshaun, how much do you appreciate maybe the versatility and the diversity within the receiving group that the Browns have put together this year during this offseason? 

It’s awesome. AB and Kevin and AVP, those guys have done a great job of getting all the guys in that receiver room, and they’ve been able to do everything. Playing different positions, playing outside, inside, everyone can do everything. So you never know going into a game plan or a situation what personnel we have in and what we can do out of that personnel group.


Can you elaborate on that a little bit when you said that everything is new. I mean, is it the same playbook with a completely different spin on it? Is it different terminology? How is everything new? 

I would just say just the foundation and the structure of the offense is the same, but as we build and continue to get ready for the season, everything else is new.


How different do you think it’ll look stylistically? 

I’m not sure because Kevin is always involved–and AVP. They’re always working out and watching tapes and trying to do different things and how different teams have different defensive schemes. So it’s kind of hard to really explain that. But all this stuff gets out on social media, so I can’t speak to it.


Does it feel new to yo?

It’s in between. I’m still learning. Last year, I missed half the year. So some things that I’m still picking up, some things that I already kind of knew from previously, what I’ve learned when I was in Coach O’Brien’s in the Houston offense. The NFL is kind of similar, as a whole. At the same time, every offensive coordinator and team do kind of different schemes in the way they kind of approach it.


Is there a lot of Bill O’Brien? 

No. This is all Kevin. Kevin and AVP.


Did some of your favorite plays come back?

Some probably have, but like I said, this league is a pretty much copycat league, in a sense. You kind of learn from different tress, but same kind of ground, but everything is all Kevin.


How much of those conversations are you saying, ‘hey, I have run this in the past. I really like this set, I really like things like that.’ Are those conversations still going on? 

Yeah, we have those conversations every day. Every time we get in the meeting room, they’re asking questions, I’m asking questions. I’m giving suggestions or making statements. They’re doing the same thing. So it’s an open room once we get in that room, and that’s how we’re going to continue to grow and be able to have success, because no one’s in that room. AVP or Kevin, who’s calling the plays. AVP, who’s filling up the script and all that. No one is stubborn. No one is insecure with, ‘this is the way we need to do it.’ Everyone’s open. Whatever works is going to work for us, and if we like it, then we’re going to run it.


How excited are you about it, knowing that it’s all really now tailored all to you and it should showcase your strengths? 

I’m very excited. Just a lot more responsibility for myself, but I like the weight on my shoulders, and for me to be able to go out there and show what I got and help me lead this team to a lot of victories, that’s where I want to get to. So we have a lot of work to put in this next break, and once we come back on the 19th, we got to be ready, locked and loaded and show what we got.


There’s obviously still two civil suits outstanding. During this time between now and camp, is there anything you need to do as far as those are concerned? 

No update. That’s all my legal team and my counsel team with the NFL. All I need to do is just focus on my job and that’s just being locked in on who Deshaun Watson is and getting ready for report date on July 19.


There’s supposed to be a trial. I mean, do you think that will that be able to happen between now and training camp? Do you know anything about that? 

I have no idea. That’s a Rusty Hardin question. So I’m not even sure.



All I can do is control what I can control and focus on what I can, and that’s football right now.


Deshaun, I know that you’re pretty known for those TikToks. Do you have any more in mind?

I definitely want to be a little bit more active on social media, especially TikTok, so we definitely going to work into it whenever we can. Of course, football is the main focus, but as time goes on, another way of showing my personality and who I am for the fans, and I think the fans like that, so I want to continue to do that.