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3 Big Takeaways: Deshaun Watson boasts 'good tempo' in preseason debut

Watson and nearly all of the other Browns’ offensive starters showed crispness in their lone drive


The Browns lost their first game of the preseason with a 17-15 loss to the Commanders on Friday night at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Here are three takeaways from the night.

Watson looks crisp in preseason debut

QB Deshaun Watson opened the game with a scoreless drive, but it was one that still featured crispness and poise from the Pro Bowl QB in his preseason debut.

"You know, so much of the focus for us was just operation and getting us in and out and having a good tempo," Coach Kevin Stefanski said. "So I thought all that was really good. I thought (Watson) saw the field really well, made plays with his feet. So he was doing a nice job as an operator, and that was really the goal.

"Get them through the pregame warm up, get them out of the huddle, get them through the first series there. And I thought he did a nice job."

Watson completed all three of his passes for a total of 12 yards and ran three times for a total of 20 yards. Although Watson wasn't given too many tasks, the offense's performance appeared smooth with him as the quarterback, even though the drive failed to result in points.

Watson was also working without three of the offense's biggest contributors in OG Joel Bitonio, WR Amari Cooper and RB Nick Chubb. All three players were in pads on the sidelines but didn't play.

Watson, however, said he certainly felt more comfortable this season than he did last season.

"I feel way better than last year," Watson said. "I've just been trying to play catch up and getting to know everyone, with a new system and everything. Having an entire off season to lock in with the guys and run the first-team offense helped me build confidence for myself for the season."

Check out photos of the Browns against the Commanders

DTR continues stellar play

Browns rookie QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson continued to impress Friday with another good performance.

Thompson-Robinson ended the day completing 9 of 10 passes for 102 yards with a 102 passer rating and a touchdown. It's the second straight strong showing from the fifth-round draft pick, who also had a touchdown in his debut in the Hall of Fame Game last week.

"He's a sponge," Watson said about Thompson-Robinson. "He takes advantage of his opportunities. He doesn't shy away from any moment. He's been a great addition to the QB locker room. When he steps on the field, he brings energy."

After an impressive 8-play drive covering 75 yards, Thompson-Robinson demonstrated his patience, composure and decision-making skills by delivering a well-placed pass to WR David Bell on a slant route, resulting in a touchdown from seven yards out.

Hickman swipes two INTs

S Ronnie Hickman intercepted two passes and was the top defensive standout in the losing effort. He snagged his first interception just before halftime from Commanders QB Jacoby Brissett, who lofted a deep pass in an attempt to push the Commanders into the red zone before the half ended. Hickman snatched his second interception in the fourth quarter from Commanders QB Jake Fromm.

"I knew I was close to the end zone, so I didn't want to back up too much," he said. "I felt the breaking route, was able to lock eyes with the quarterback and kind of saw him staring at it. I just went to go make a play on the ball and was fortunate enough to come down with it."

Hickman's picks should boost his stock in the competition for the fourth spot in the safety room. The undrafted rookie out of Ohio State also tied Browns defenders for a defense-leading five tackles.

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