Post-surgery goal: Deshaun Watson focused on rapport with David Njoku

Deshaun Watson is working to get on the same page as David Njoku

Cleveland Browns, David Njoku, Deshaun Watson
Cleveland Browns, David Njoku, Deshaun Watson / Lauren Leigh Bacho/GettyImages

Some great news on the Deshaun Watson front. Per Mary Kay Cabot Watson has been medically cleared to start some "light throwing" following his shoulder surgery last November.

While we don't know the details of what's included in his "light throwing," we do know who will be a primary target. To no surprise, Watson's personal QB coach Quincy Avery will be there, but teammate tight end David Njoku has flown out to LA to take part in Watson's sessions. This may initially not seem significant, but it is a step in the right direction to address a need in this offense for next year.

That need being Watson developing better chemistry with Njoku.

It's well known that Njoku had a career year in 2023 and cemented himself as a top player in his position. Among all tight ends, Njoku was first in yards after catch (608), sixth in receiving yards (882), and tied for second in TDs with six.

This was amazing to witness last season but then alarming when looking at all of his statistical categories, a vast majority of his production came when Watson wasn't on the field. 75 percent of his catches, 80 percent of his receiving yards, and 83 percent of his touchdowns were with a quarterback other than Deshaun Watson.

Could have this been a general scheme issue with head coach Kevin Stefanski not involving Njoku enough? Possibly as it took four weeks this past season for Njoku to see more than four targets in a game.

It would also be wise to point out that in his last two games with Watson, he saw 15 targets, which he turned into 10 catches for 84 yards and a score. Although seeing what Njoku was capable of this season, it does make the fact he never saw over 59 yards in a game with Watson very alarming.

This issue wasn't just this season either. When comparing the averages of Njoku's 10 games with Watson vs the 20 games he had with the likes of Joe Flacco, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, PJ Walker, and Jacoby Brissett the results are concerning.

With Watson, Njoku is averaging five and a half targets, three and a half receptions, 34 yards, and scoring every four games. Without Watson: Njoku is seeing seven and a half targets, over five catches, 58.5 yards, and scoring every three games. Keep in mind all of these four quarterbacks were Deshaun Watson's backup.

The good news is that the first person Watson is throwing to post-surgery is to Njoku. He has to be involved just as much as last season as he's too good of a receiving target to not be the second option in this offense.

In four out of the six games this offense passed for over 250 yards, Njoku had at least 91 yards or more receiving. Plus with him being so explosive in the open field, it's easy to get him the ball. Njoku's average depth of target is below five yards and he averages over seven yards after the catch. In Lamen's terms, if you do the math, he is a walking first down.

In a must-win year where Deshaun needs to put together his best year in a Browns uniform, it would be smart to feature his superstar tight end.

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