BEREA, Ohio — The Browns said from OTAs and minicamp this spring that they have plans in place for whatever time Deshaun Watson is expected to miss. Now, after disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson made her decision, issuing a six-game suspension without fine for Watson’s violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy amid sexual misconduct allegations, the Now is the time to put that plan into action with Jacoby Brissett leading the way.
With Watson set to miss the first six games of the season, the plan is to move Brissett into the starting role around this time. Leading the Browns to start the season is something Brissett’s career has prepared him well for.
“That’s been my situation throughout my career. It’s nothing I don’t know, always being ready to go when my number was called and it is now,” he said. . “Since I’ve been in this league, he’s been the next man. That was the case my rookie year and it’s been that way since I’ve been in the league, so that experience obviously helps and not only helps the game but with the mindset of understanding that hey, you have to be ready whenever your number is called.
Head coach Kevin Stefanski laid out some of that plan ahead of time, getting Brissett plenty of first-team reps since spring training. While Watson will still take a fair share of first-team representatives during training camp to prepare him to return to the pitch in October after not playing at all last season, first-team representatives de Brissett will be in the lead. It’s something Brissett soaks up as he prepares for his moment.
“That’s hugely important, obviously, because those are the guys I’ll be with and I’m sure that process will continue, so keep enjoying those reps,” Brissett said. “Excited about the talent we have in his team, the way these guys work, the way they arrive and prepare, and prepare to train and prepare for games is exciting. And I have looking forward to continued growth.”
The job Brissett faces comes with a lot of pressure, but one thing he doesn’t do is leave the situation with Watson to Watson himself. He, like many players, chose not to read Robinson’s report on the investigation
and subsequent decision on Watson. He said, at the end of the day, this is not his place.
“I think that’s Deshaun’s business and I’d like to stay out of it,” Brissett said.
Linebacker Anthony Walker shared similar sentiments.
“It’s just none of my business. I feel like it’s up to Deshaun to deal with this. I have to let the legal process handle itself and I didn’t want to put myself in that situation. It’s football here for us and he handles it the way he has to handle it,” Walker said.
Walker is close to Watson and Brissett, but has a real history with the latter.
“We spend a lot of time together, me and Jacoby, in season, off season. We used to have dinner every Monday when we were in indy. Just stuff like that. Just a lot of similar interests and other things,” Walker said. “I’ve known Jacoby for so long.”
Having that deep connection allows Walker to have deep insight into the quarterback the Browns will have to lead them into the start of the season – and he’s confident Brissett will be able to deliver.
“I know the way he prepares, his state of mind. Whether he is a starter or a substitute, he will prepare as he is a starter. It’s the love of the game he has, the respect for the game he has. At the end of the day, I know he’s going to do his best. Like I told him, “We believe in him.” He knows that everyone in this organization believes in him and we believe in him. let’s support.”
Walker’s confidence in Brissett is mirrored by Brissett’s confidence in himself. The quarterback credits the people around him for allowing him to believe in himself when he enters the field.
“I guess from my upbringing. I have been in this situation before. I have good people around me and I know myself,” Brissett said. “My brothers. My mother. My high school coaches. All those who have played a role in my arrival in this position. My confidence has never wavered. for me, have extreme confidence in me, why should I doubt myself?
That confidence has already been seen in training camp as Brissett begins to increase his first-team reps, connecting with Donovan Peoples-Jones and getting into the rhythm with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt in the backfield. That is certainly appreciated by his teammates, who share his confidence as they prepare to start the season with Brissett under center to start.
“I don’t think anyone on our team, period, lacks confidence. And that’s the camaraderie that we’ve built, the trust and belief within the franchise,” Walker said. “We don’t lack confidence anywhere, and that’s not to be arrogant, but it’s just to say that we understand that the work that we have to do and that we’re doing now so that on Sunday we can go out and So , when you have a lot of guys with that confidence — and Jacoby, another confident guy you add to that mix — yeah, that should be good.
Camryn Justice is a reporter for News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.
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