The Cleveland Browns will be without their offseason prize in Deshaun Watson for — at least — the first six games of the 2022 season. The quarterback was handed a six-game ban from disciplinary officer Sue. L Robinson after hearing testimony regarding his off-the-field troubles, headlined by 24 civil lawsuits that were filed by women accusing him of sexual assault. While that suspension could be extended further if the NFL decides to appeal, Watson will at the very least miss the start of the year.
So, that leaves the Browns turning to veteran Jacoby Brissett to lead them under center.
“Since I’ve been in this league it’s been the next man up,” Brissett told reporters Tuesday, via NFL.com. “That was the case my rookie year, so that experience helps with not only the playing but with the mindset of understanding that you’ve got to be ready whenever your number is called.”
Brissett is referring to when he was selected by the Patriots in the third round back in 2016. That rookie year, Tom Brady was serving his four-game suspension for Deflategate to begin the season, leaving Jimmy Garoppolo as the team’s starter with Brissett backing him up. Garoppolo got hurt in the midst of their Week 2 matchup and Brissett played the rest of the way until Brady returned.
Not only does he have experience coming in under duress from that circumstance, but Brissett was also thrust into the starting role in Indianapolis when Andrew Luck stunned the NFL with his retirement in August of 2019.
“He’s been in some different positions already in his young career,” head coach Kevin Stefanski said. “He has a very good way about him. Very, very intelligent. Very good leader. Has the ability to make plays on the practice field, help in the meeting room. Be accountable throughout the weight room. He just does all the right things.”
In his career, Brissett has started 37 games and owns a 14-23 record. He’s completed 60.2% of his passes during his career and has an 83 passer rating.
Throughout the early stages of camp, Watson — who can still practice with the team throughout the summer — has seen the bulk of the first team reps. With this suspension coming to light, however, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Brissett see more of those looks as we get close to the start of the regular season.