New Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson brings a different skill set than Baker Mayfield, let’s take a look at how the offense will change.
The Cleveland Browns are preparing to enter 2022 with a new quarterback in Deshaun Watson, who still may face a suspension from the NFL, and the offense will need to evolve. Head coach Kevin Stefanski alluded to that during this week’s owner’s meetings.
"“When you’re talking about the quarterback position, you better do what that player does best, and that’s what we want to do, ultimately. I had a lot of really good conversations with Deshaun from a football perspective, with the coaches, and I think we have a good plan moving forward. But that’ll be an evolution. I mean, that that’ll be an evolution over the weeks, months” -Kevin Stefanski"
First, let’s take a look at some of the statistics from Watson’s last season playing in 2020 with the Texans. Watson started all 16 games in 2020, completing 70.2 percent of his passes for 4,823 and 33 touchdowns to only 7 interceptions. Watson has a career 67.8 completion percentage, the Browns are getting a really accurate and consistent passer.
What Deshaun Watson brings
The first difference and change will be because of Watson’s athleticism, in 54 career games, Watson has rushed for 1,677 yards on 5.5 yards per attempt. Stefanski loves to use deception and play action to confuse the defense and Watson is a perfect scheme fit for that.
Watson has the ability to make all of the throws on the run with the added threat to take off and gain yardage with his legs. Watson has the ability to really extend plays, he keeps his eyes down the field looking to make a play and only takes off if there aren’t any options. Watson does have a tendency to hold onto the ball too long because of his confidence in extending plays.
His pocket presence is really impressive, he rarely panics if things break down around him from a protection standpoint. Watson stands strong in the pocket and climbs it well when needed before bailing the pocket and making a play on the run or using his legs to gain yardage.
A big difference you could see next season is the addition of the run-pass-option because of Watson’s skill set. Having two elite running backs in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt with an athletic quarterback can lead to some fun run-pass-option concepts and plays. With the threat of Watson running, handing it off to the running back, or a pass the Browns will be able to add more wrinkles to the playbook to confuse opposing defenses.
Watson has a knack for looking downfield and going for the big play on the deep ball, some knock his arm strength but watching the film he has more than enough arm to push the ball downfield. Expect the offense to feature just as many if not more deep shot plays with Watson, who often extends the plays to give receivers added time to get open downfield.
Watson doesn’t just run with athleticism but with power and toughness. If you watch his play in Houston you will see more than a couple of runs where Watson lowers his shoulder for extra yards or a touchdown.
The Browns have acquired a true franchise quarterback who has a really high football IQ and his ability to read and diagnose a defense is at an elite level.
On the field, this move should pay off in a big way depending on how the off-the-field issues play out.