QB Deshaun Watson was back out on the practice field this week as the Browns prepare for a Week 9 matchup against the Cardinals.
Watson first returned to practice on Wednesday as a limited participant after resting the previous week and not playing in Week 8 against the Seahawks. He practiced once again on Thursday, participating in drills and making a number of throws to receivers and tight ends during the open period of practice.
Watson said on Thursday that his shoulder responded well to his work in practice on Wednesday and that he is continuing to progress. OC Alex Van Pelt said that Watson looked better in his throws on Wednesday than he did the Friday practice on Oct. 20 before the Colts game.
Yet, Watson's status for Sunday's game against the Cardinals is still unclear.
"I'm not even sure," Watson said on Thursday. "Just following the medical protocols and we'll just go from there."
HC Kevin Stefanski did not make any quarterback decisions early in the week as he did the previous week but said that P.J. Walker remains their backup QB. Walker would start on Sunday against the Cardinals if Watson were unable to play. They will continue to see how he progresses each day of practice this week.
Watson said that the velocity on his throwing has continued to get better, and the arrow is trending up.
"I feel good," Watson said. "The process, like I said before, has been going up. We're right on track where we need to be for what I feel like. So just communicating with all the doctors and all the coaching staff and make sure we are doing all the steps that we need to make sure that whenever that time is, I step on the field ready to play."
There are steps in the protocol and rehab process that Watson has to clear before he goes back onto the field, which is part of the day-to-day process. He continues to take and focus on one step at a time.
As Watson reflected on starting the game in Week 7 against the Colts, he said that he told that the staff that he was ready. Watson played only a handful of snaps in the first quarter before he was hit and did not return for the remainder of the game.
"That was my decision, and look, I wasn't ready," Watson said. "So, I tried to jump the gun a little bit and it didn't go our way. So, at the end of the day, you got to listen to the experts and all the things that they did. It's my first time dealing with it. So, of course I know my body, so I'm keeping track of everything that I'm doing and letting them know what's going on and what's good and what's not good. So, I think we all be on the same page, and we all feel right when that time comes."
Now, after a week of rest and recovery, Watson continues to go through practice this week. Wednesday the Browns worked inside, and Watson went through drills with the quarterbacks during the open period to the media. On Thursday, he was also a participant open to the media.
Van Pelt said he felt better about Watson after seeing him in Wednesday's practice. Van Pelt said Watson was able to drive the ball downfield at practice on Wednesday. But they won't put him out on the field until he is healthy.
"I think collectively, between AB (Andrew Berry) and Kevin (Stefanski), they'll make the right decision with his input, obviously, but we'll see how this week goes," Van Pelt said. "Every day is a different day, and everything's been moving in the right direction this week."
Van Pelt said that they want Watson to be able to make the throws that a quarterback may need to over the course of a game and feel comfortable in making those throws down the field short and accurately.
"I want to play, but as long as we're all on the same page as a player, as a staff and an organization, then I think that's whatever's best for the team, the best for the future of this team is definitely what we need to be heading to," Watson said.