Myles Garrett is excited about having Deshaun Watson back as the Cleveland Browns starting quarterback against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
The Browns made the official announcement on Friday that Watson would be getting the start after he practiced for the majority of the week and looked like his old self. Over the last four games, the defense has been carrying the load for Cleveland. With Watson back, the offense should be able to take some pressure off Garrett and Co.
Garrett — who has 8.5 sacks this season — has liked what he’s seen from Watson in practice.
“It motivates us. He’s been a big motivator in the locker room on the field, even though he hasn’t been playing,” Garrett said on Friday, November 3. “But seeing him on the field doing his thing, balling out, having fun, supporting the guys. It’s just another level.”
It hasn’t been the easiest road back for Watson, who has dealt with a hefty serving of external criticism for not being on the field. But Garrett commended his QB for how he’s battled through the rotator cuff strain.
“As gracefully as possible, taking in stride, doing what he can to be here for us,” Garrett said when asked how Watson has handled the turbulent month. “But also take care of his body and maintain a level of professionalism.”
Deshaun Watson Needs to Defend Against Re-Injury
Part of the worry with Watson is the risk of re-injury. If he takes a hard hit and is forced to miss more time, it could send the Browns’ season into a tailspin. Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski is confident that the offensive line and Watson’s mentality will keep him upright and healthy.
“Deshaun’s been playing this game for a long time. He understands how to protect himself. As you can imagine, our offense, our offensive line, you want to protect your quarterback, but you also understand the game,” Stefanski said. “He knows how to protect himself. He knows when to get out of bounds, when to slide, those types of things. But he’s a very competitive player, and he makes plays with his feet. So, it’s all part of the game.”
The Browns opted not to make a move for a veteran quarterback at the trade deadline. Watson needs to be healthy the rest of the way if the Browns hope to make the postseason and keep pace in a highly competitive AFC North.
Cardinals Still Undecided on Kyler Murray Starting
Watson returns to face a one-win Cardinals team. However, Arizona might be getting a significant boost from the return of Kyler Murray, who has missed the first eight games recovering from a torn ACL he suffered last season.
Murray practiced and has been dubbed questionable by the Cardinals. However, first-year head coach Jonathan Gannon has yet to make the final call on who his starter will be against the Browns. If it’s not Murray, rookie Clayton Tune will get the nod.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re doing the best thing for the team and the best thing for Kyler,” Gannon said on Friday, November 3. “He’ll have a big part in saying to me and to us, ‘Hey I want to play football.’ We are still working toward that.”
The Cardinals started former Browns QB Joshua Dobbs for the first eight games of the year but shipped him off to the Minnesota Vikings at the trade deadline.