1. Deshaun Watson, QB
This one is self-explanatory as to why he's a player to watch in Week 1. After a long offseason, not just Browns fans, but fans across the league will get their first look at Deshaun Watson in a game of consequence against starters.
Watson looked good in his limited amount of snaps in the preseason, but that doesn't carry much weight as teams are testing out plays on offense, and the defense they see is made up of backups and players who may not be on their teams anymore. So no one knows if he is truly back to form even though in the preseason he looked to be at times.
The first real test for Watson is upon us as Sunday approaches. He will see a Bengals team that has made the playoffs in each of the last two seasons and is poised for another great year. Along with the Browns only loss to the Bengals in the last three seasons was when Watson played.
Of course, it was only Watson's second game back from a nearly two-year hiatus. But a troubling outcome nonetheless, and something fans were not expecting after the recent years against the Bengals.
The good news is Watson says he is better now, not only better than his play last year but also when he led the league in passing in 2020. Now Watson has never been one to say anything too outlandish in his interviews, so one may be inclined to believe him if he says that he is back to form.
If he speaks the truth and has returned to the Deshaun Watson you expect to see, it could be a very great Week 1 for the Browns. It goes without saying that you should keep an eye on Watson, but one should watch him as he should be leaps and bounds better than he was last year vs. the Bengals. If all goes right a season for the history book is what the Browns QB1 should expect.