Deshaun Watson deep ball was highlight of Browns minicamp

Deshaun Watson started to air the ball out as minicamp went along
Cleveland Browns, Deshaun Watson
Cleveland Browns, Deshaun Watson / Jeff Lange / USA TODAY NETWORK

When the Cleveland Browns reported to OTAs in May, Deshaun Watson was taking it easy. In his third year with the franchise, Watson was alternating throwing days as he worked his way back from shoulder injury.

By the end of their mandatory minicamp in mid-June, he was starting to air it out.

Thursday was the final day of minicamp and Watson got the most he could from that last day. He fired one deep ball to Elijah Moore, which traveled more than 50 yards through the air. Moore was unable to haul it in, but it was still an accurate throw. He also had one to Jaelen Darden that turned heads.

Deshaun Watson earning respect of his teammates

Watson's progress led to some positive comments from head coach Kevin Stefanski. It also has been noticed by his teammates. Backup quarterback Jameis Winston praised his rehab routine, even calling him a leader for the way he approached his mental reps.

"I've seen intentional leadership of him taking mental reps, like he is one of the best quarterbacks in this league," quarterback Jameis Winston said via Daniel Oyefusi of ESPN. "I've seen a consistent growth and just him focusing on his shoulder routine, focusing on building that strength back. And when he throws it, he spins it, so I haven't seen anything of lack."

While Watson has never had issues winning over his teammates, he's never been able to silence the critics. That's been tough since he can't stay on the field — playing in just six games in 2022 due to a suspension and six in 2023 due to injury. He's a polarizing figure who believes the criticism isn't all about football — which is partially true. Having said that, he's also failed to live up to his monstrous contract and until he shows out in the regular season, the critics will continue to be loud.

The good news for him is that he's in a new offense which is tailor-made for him. Ken Dorsey was hired in the offseason and has put his spin on what Kevin Stefanski has been doing. We haven't seen much but tight end David Njoku is excited, calling it a "juicy" offense.

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