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News & Notes: Deshaun Watson 'getting more and more comfortable' in offense

The Browns saw Watson take another step forward for his second win in his last three games


Head coach Kevin Stefanski continues to see Deshaun Watson make big strides in his game — and he's noticed his confidence grow as a result.

That statement, of course, shouldn't be a surprise after Watson grabbed his second win of the season in his third start as the Browns' QB. In a game where passing conditions weren't favorable due to the frigid and, at times, snowy conditions, Watson did what he needed to keep the Browns ahead on the scoreboard and avoid making any game-changing mistakes. His 161 passing yards on 18-of-28 pass attempts don't pop off the stats page, but they show that Watson played a clean game.

When Watson took the final kneel-down to end the game, he turned around to face the Dawg Pound and let out a yell, his final act on a solid home debut at FirstEnergy Stadium.

"He doesn't lack for confidence, and he's a great leader in the building, outside the building, on the practice field and in the locker room," Stefanski said. "I do think there is certainly confidence that comes from playing, winning and those types of things. That always leads to confidence.

"I think Deshaun is certainly getting more and more comfortable in what we are doing."

Watson admitted himself after the game that he's starting to feel more comfortable with being a starter in the NFL again. For the last two weeks, he'd been talking about how he felt the rust that came with taking 700 days away from the NFL and not beginning the season until he completed an 11-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy.

There was always going to be an adjustment period for Watson when he returned, and he's appeared to make steady progress in working through those hurdles in all three of his starts. The Browns have a winning record in those games.

Judging by his own comments from Saturday, he knows the improvements are no fluke.

"All around. Just everything," Watson said when asked where he's becoming more comfortable.

"From the swagger, to operating the offense, to being able to know exactly where everyone is going to be, when we need to call a timeout, when we don't need to call a timeout, when we need to go for it and overall just everything. Football is coming back each and every week. That's my job."

A big game from JJ3

Stefanski gave special credit to S John Johnson III, who led the Browns in tackles yesterday and also forced the fumble the Browns recovered from Ravens WR Demarcus Robinson. In addition to the big plays, Johnson also wore the green helmet sticker for the defense and relayed defensive play calls from defensive coordinator Joe Woods to the rest of the unit.

The defense played one of its best games of the season and didn't allow a touchdown for the first time all year. Johnson deserves ample credit.

"He was all over the field," Stefanski said. "He's our green-dot so he makes the calls in that huddle so when he is not out there, obviously there is a transition that has to take place. He was around the ball. He tackled well. He is the type of guy who does have versatility where we can play him down low, we can play him in the post and he can play half-field."

The Browns celebrate after a win over the Baltimore Ravens on December 17, 2022 at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Injury Updates

Stefanski said DE Jadeveon Clowney is in concussion protocol after

he left the game in the second quarter. Johnson also suffered a thigh contusion and left the game in the fourth quarter.

With the unknown of when Clowney might return, Stefanski spoke about the confidence the Browns have in their backup edge depth. DE Chase Winovich added two tackles in replacement of Clowney, and rookie DE Alex Wright also stepped in on certain plays and added a tackle for a loss.

"We have talked about JD (Clowney) a lot and just about his length, his disruption and certainly he has been productive for us in the run and the pass," Stefanski said. "If we are without him – as you know, with concussions it's hard to predict – you need guys to step up. (DE) Alex Wright had some really good moments in this game and (DE) Chase Winovich, as well. Guys will have to step up if we are without him."

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