QB Deshaun Watson (9.27.23)


Deshaun, can you just maybe speak a little bit to the magnitude of the game, a battle for first place in this division? You got Lamar (Jackson) coming in. Just how sort of exciting and big is this? 

“Yeah, it’s a divisional game, all that stuff. I think internally for the locker room and the team, we’re treating it just like we treated last weekend. It’s trying to be 1-0 this week and for us to be able to just lock in on our craft, learn the game plan, learn our opponent, and make sure that we’re able to focus on all the challenges that can come Sunday. So as far as just trying to make it bigger than what it is now, we just got to make sure that we stay the same, stay normal, and just make sure we’re locked in on our plan each and every day.”


Did Sunday feel different to you in any way than your previous games here? And what can you take forward from the way you played against Tennessee? 

“No, I didn’t feel any different. And what I can take forward is just really just focusing on building off all the good and all the bad from that game. Like I usually do with any other game, just keep pushing forward. And that’s pretty much it.”


Just talking to Amari (Cooper) and he talked about the communication that you guys have even during the week, but on the sideline during games, what is that like for you? 

“It’s good. I mean, it’s awesome to have a smart receiver like Coop, who’s a veteran guy who understands what we want from him, what the game plan is basically coming about and then also just really just what he’s saying out there with the coverages. So, with him being able to communicate with me and I communicate with him and when we’re on the same page, a lot of good things happen.”


How important is it to have that type of communication with the receivers?

“It’s very important because, you know, some things that I won’t be able to see in live action, he might be on the backside and I’m working front side of the play call. So, there are different things that I won’t be able to see that he’s been able to communicate and keep me up. And when I come to the sideline, I see the pictures and then I’m able to be able to check that out and make some big plays for him.”


Do you have a specific example from Sunday of when Amari came to the sideline and said, ‘Hey, let’s try this. This is going to work.’?

“A couple of the go routes, things like that. You know, a couple of the back shoulders the previous week. So, it’s just kind of little things like that just kind of pops up and how the corner is going to play that week.”


How do the empty sets help you as the quarterback in the passing game? 

“It just spaces out the defense, it makes the defense kind of commit to what they want to do. They still can disguise, they still can bring heat, but they kind of have to show it a little bit earlier because of the way we’re spaced out we’re using the whole field.”


Deshaun, you’ll be seeing Jadeveon Clowney. What have you seen from Jadeveon on film so far for them? And what do you think he’s going to have, you know just in terms of maybe a little extra juice for coming back to Cleveland? 

“Yeah, JD has always been a guy that’s very active. He makes sure that he’s applying pressure. If he doesn’t get there for the sack, he’s going to be there right in front of the quarterback’s eyes. And I think what I saw yesterday when I was looking up the sacks, he was kind of checking out their defense. I think he leads that team in QB pressures or something like that. I think he’s a great player. Of course, he’s a good friend of mine, and he’s going to be fired up.”


What’s your relationship with Lamar Jackson? 

“We have a good relationship. Of course, we don’t talk all the time, but when we see each other, we speak and we hang out, things like that. But we have a good solid relationship.”


So, when he signed this new contract this summer, did you shoot him a text saying ‘I still got you’? 

“No, I didn’t do that. I said congratulations, but I didn’t say all that.”


Is there extra juice when you play a guy like that who’s former MVP, just the type of player style that Lamar is?

“No extra juice for me. I have the same mentality, same approach to every game. So, I’m not going technically against him, the defense is. But my main job is just trying to find any way I can to be positive with this great defense we’re going against.”


You limit your runs with the ball, what do you think of the way he’s (Lamar Jackson) on his way to another 1,000-yard rushing season? 

“I think it’s impressive, to be honest. He’s one of the best runners in the game. Not even just at the quarterback position, but just overall. I’ve been watching Lamar, going against Lamar, since college. So, I’ve been seeing all this since Louisville-Clemson days. So, nothing’s changed. He’s just gotten bigger, stronger, and it’s impressive.”


You both absorbed some pretty big hits out there on the field when you run. You got hit pretty good by the Titans on Sunday. Just when you’re in the course of a game, right, and you’re going play to play, how difficult is it to absorb those hits and quickly and mentally and physically move on to that next play and not allow, I guess, the aftershock of being on the receiving end to affect you going on that next play or the next few plays?

“You just have to understand that with certain play calls and certain lines, you have to take those hits. So, you just got to know how to fall, know how to kind of take them and try not to take any heavy blows. But at the same time, you just go on to the next play pretty much. It comes with part of the game.”


Is the defense playing as well as they have, allow you to feed on that and almost want to even do more to just knowing that you don’t have to put up 30 points on your own, that they’re holding them in check?

“Yeah, I mean, we feed off the defense, we feed off that energy and they feed off us. So, coming off the field and they’re going on, they say they got us and vice versa, we say we got them. And the more points we put up, the better it is overall. So not just because we got a great defense. We just need to put up a certain amount of points now. We don’t put any limits on ourselves. We just try to score each and every time, get the ball to really separate.”


You had a couple of famous incidents in Houston of coming back from bad hits and injuries and games. One time you had to bus to a game so you didn’t miss that game. So what’s your philosophy on showing just being there and playing through injuries? Like the hit to your throat, you didn’t miss a play. 

“I mean, I think it just depends on the person and how bad the injury is and what can pretty much happen outside or after the injury. So if it’s something like, for instance, the bus ride in Houston. I had a couple of cracked ribs and a punctured lung so I couldn’t fly. So, they said I could drive and the biggest concern was what could happen afterward. Nothing much can really happen. The lung is just bleeding inside. So, it just got a recovery versus time, and then the ribs are going to heal on its own.”


I guess, why wouldn’t you miss that next game after that injury? 

“Well, I mean, for me personally, I just wanted to play. For me at that time, it was the best situation for me and the team. And we went down to Jacksonville, won that game, and it helped out.”


Baltimore has got a couple of injuries in their secondary. How does that affect your preparation personnel-wise, going into this game? 

“Nothing. I mean, those guys are playing good. (Brandon) Stephens, 21 is good. (Ronald) Darby is good. Rock Ya-Sin has been a good addition. The safeties are playing well. They’re going to come fired up. Just because the guys that are starting secondary are not out there doesn’t mean that the backups, the guys that start now, aren’t as good as those guys. We respect those guys. We respect all of them and the way they’re playing. And they’re going to come out and compete and challenge us, and we got to do our thing, show what we got. But it doesn’t change the preparation or anything like that. We have a lot of respect for them.”


So they’re using (Kyle) Hamilton, the safety as a nickel back because of an injury. Does he look like he’s capable of covering the corner?

“Yeah, I think he’s a good player. He’s playing different positions for a reason. A lot of guys, just because of injuries, they’ll bring in a guy for that certain position, but with him being able to play safety and nickel and come inside and blitz and pressure and things like that and cover slot receivers, he’s been doing a heck of a job the first three weeks. So, yeah, we got to make sure that we’re up to that challenge and make sure we find him each and every play.”


Amari said when he gets kind of an easy catch early, he gets confidence, and it feels like he can light it up after that. Did you feel that way Sunday when you got some of those quick, easy completions for you and then were able to stretch the field more after that? 

“Yeah, that’s the thing, really it’s about completion. Send the ball, hit the receiver’s hands, and they catch it in the pocket. Not just for myself, but for the offense, for Kevin (Stefanski), for everyone. So when you see completions, regardless of how much it is, it definitely creates that positivity and everything kind of flows from there.”



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