Browns’ Deshaun Watson rusty in preseason debut vs. Jaguars, completes just one pass

USA Today

With a cloud of uncertainty hovering over him, Deshaun Watson took his first live snaps as a member of the Cleveland Browns during Friday night’s preseason game in Jacksonville. 

Watson is still awaiting NFL designee Peter C. Harvey’s decision on whether or not to increase disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson’s six-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. For the first time, Watson publicly expressed remorse for his actions that led to 24 civil lawsuits accusing him of sexual misconduct during massage sessions during his time with the Houston Texans. 

As expected, Watson looked like someone who was playing in his first game in 568 days. He overthrew an open Anthony Schwartz on a play-action rollout on the game’s first play. Watson’s second pass (on the very next play) was better but was dropped by Schwartz, setting up a third-and-10. Bigger than the drop, the Browns lost starting center Nick Harris to an injury. 

Watson’s second drive was even shorter than the first. He slipped before handing off to D’Ernest Johnson on first down. The drive ended moments later when Johnson coughed up the ball, giving the Jaguars the ball deep in Cleveland territory. 

Watson’s first completion came on the first play of Cleveland’s third possession, as Watson hit David Njoku on a short dump pass for seven yards. Schwartz was unable to hold onto Watson’s accurate deep pass on second down, and on third down, Watson under threw running back Demetric Felton, as Cleveland punted for a second time. 

That would be the final play of the night for Watson, who finished with just seven yards on 1 of 5 passing. Of those five passes, Watson threw three accurate passes with an overthrow and an underthrow. On a positive note, Watson was not sacked and did not commit a turnover. 

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