Browns QB Deshaun Watson Fires Back at Critics Ahead of Playoffs

Browns QB Deshaun Watson Fires Back at Critics Ahead of Playoffs

Ahead of the final week of the season, Deshaun Watson clarified his relationship with the Cleveland Browns and directly addressed his critics with a pointed message.

Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson is ecstatic about the team's success in his absence.
Getty Images Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson is ecstatic about the team’s success in his absence.

Watson has been recovering from season-ending shoulder surgery. He’s spent a chunk of time in Los Angeles for his rehab, away from the team. However, Watson has remained in close contact with the team.

“They look good. I talk to Kevin [Stefanski] every week, [Andrew Berry] every week,” Watson said during his podcast QB Unplugged with Quincy Avery. “I talk to Jimmy Haslam every week.”

The Browns will have started five different quarterbacks this season after Sunday. Watson, rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson, PJ Walker and Joe Flacco have all started games this season. Newly signed veteran Jeff Driskel will start on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Flacco has thrived with the Browns, going 4-1 and passing for over 300 yards in four consecutive games. With the offense firing on all cylinders under Flacco, Watson has come under fire from critics. However, he’s nothing but happy about the Browns’ success.

“They win and go to the Bowl, I’m going to the Bowl. They get a ring, I’m getting a ring,” said Watson, who is on a $230 million fully guaranteed contract. “I ain’t tripping on none of that. I’m hurt so I can’t do nothing. People just want something to say and talk about. It’s all personal for them. This s**t entertaining for me.”

Deshaun Watson Says Browns ‘Setting the Tone’

Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson is proud of what the team has done this season.
Getty ImagesCleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson is proud of what the team has done this season.

Watson is one of many key injuries the Browns have suffered this season. Cleveland currently has 14 players on injured reserve which accounts for an NFL-high 26.63% of their cap space. Watson praised the Browns for their resilience this season and for changing the way the franchise is viewed.

“It’s like it’s a culture thing. It just shows that this is the Cleveland Browns,” Watson said. “Previously, by looking at Cleveland you might think, ‘Oh, they got some talent. They should do this but it’s the same old.’ We have almost 18 guys or IR and I think like 12 of them are starters. A lot of other guys are banged up. This is what Cleveland is all about. And we setting a tone. The guys that weren’t expecting to play, they are playing. This is the reason I came to Cleveland.”

Watson was 5-1 this season as the starting quarterback for the Browns. He finished the year with 1,115 yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions.

Deshaun Watson Will be Browns Starter After Return

Deshaun Watson will be the starter for the Browns when he returns from injury next season.
Getty ImagesDeshaun Watson will be the starter for the Browns when he returns from injury next season.

Flacco’s career resurgence in Cleveland has created some interesting questions about Watson’s future with the Browns. Flacco has passed for 1,616 yards, 13 touchdows and 8 interceptions in five starts. The Browns are 4-1 with Flacco at the helm.

That being said, Flacco will turn 39 years old in January and the Browns are financially comitted to Watson for the forseeable future. Watson is expected to be ready to go for training camp and Browns insider Mary Kay Cabot assured he’ll be the starter when healthy.

“As of right now, Watson is their starter when he comes back healthy from his fractured shoulder,” Cabot reported on December 31. “They paid him a guaranteed $46 million a year for five years, and he still has three left. They still believe he’s the quarterback for whom they surrendered three first-round picks and a net of five. But if Flacco wins a Super Bowl for the Browns — the first in the history of the club — it will be tough to let him walk away.”

Depending on how the postseason shakes out, Flacco may choose to seek out an opportunity where he can start games. Flacco has proven he still has more left in the tank and deserves to be on the field.

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