Browns stock report: Deshaun Watson rises while Denzel Ward falls

Browns, Jedrick Wills. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
Browns, Jedrick Wills. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports /
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Browns, Deshaun Watson
Browns, Deshaun Watson. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports /

Browns Stock up 1: Deshaun Watson

If Deshaun Watson were a stock, the volume would have been heavy as many investors would have bought and sold with strong opinions both ways. Many investors advocate selling, but others feel that the panic selling is over and it is a good time to buy now.

Watson showed up against the Steelers in the first half, who were bringing their A-game for a playoff berth and to save their coach’s streak of never having a losing season in his NFL career. Watson is starting to click with his teammates.

Watson successfully used the screen pass option with both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, which Watson did so often and so brilliantly in Houston. Is it fair to suggest that if he got mileage from Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson in 2019 (who, weirdly, both played for Cleveland in 2018), then it also ought to work with Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, and Jerome Ford?

After weeks of complaining in this space about the lack of utilization of running backs in the passing game, Watson targeted running backs 10 times versus Pittsburgh and connected eight times, including five completions in six attempts for Nick Chubb. Note that Chubb gained 6.4 yards per carry on the ground, but 7.5 yards per pass attempt through the air. Chubb was even more deadly when used as a receiver. This is how Watson earned his living in Texas.

For this reason, it’s hard to be upset at Watson’s performance, even though it was marred by an ugly interception in the two-minute drill at the end of the first half when he threw a nice touch pass into a sea of black and gold jerseys. Levi Wallace came up with the easy pick, which ultimately translated into three points for the Steelers. He added another unforced interception to safety Damontae Kazee. These are concerning but possibly correctable.

Anytime your offensive line gets you sacked seven times, the quarterback cannot be blamed completely.