Browns, QB Deshaun Watson have raised expectations in 2nd camp

Published 10:32 pm Wednesday, July 19, 2023

The Associated Press

This will be a very different training camp for the Cleveland Browns and quarterback Deshaun Watson.

A year ago, Watson’s first summer with the team was clouded by legal issues, which led to him being suspended 11 games by the NFL for violating its personal conduct policy. Watson played in just six games and the Browns staggered to a 7-10 finish.

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Watson will have new playmakers to throw to this season and it’s imperative he builds chemistry with receivers Elijah Moore and Marquise Goodwin this summer. Cleveland’s defense has been overhauled and is now led by coordinator Jim Schwartz, perhaps the team’s biggest offseason acquisition.


CAMP SITES: White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.; Berea, Ohio

KEY ADDITIONS: Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone, DE Za’Darius Smith, S Juan Thornhill, DT Dalvin Tomlinson, DE Ogbo Okoronkwo, S Rodney McLeod, WR Elijah Moore, WR Marquise Goodwin, TE Jordan Akins, rookie WR Cedric Tillman, QB Joshua Dobbs.

KEY LOSSES: Defensive coordinator Joe Woods, special team coordinator Mike Priefer, QB Jacoby Brissett, DE Jadeveon Clowney, S John Johnson III, S Ronnie Harrison, RB Kareem Hunt, DE Chase Winovich, T Chris Hubbard, RB D’Ernest Johnson, LB Deion Jones, CB Greedy Williams.

KEY STORYLINES: Quarterback Deshaun Watson’s legal entanglements are no longer a distraction or excuse for the Browns, one of the NFL’s biggest disappointments the past two seasons. Watson played just six games last season — his first with Cleveland — after being suspended 11 by the NFL for violating its personal conduct policy after he was accused of sexual assault by two dozen women during massage therapy sessions while playing for Houston. Watson needs to develop chemistry with Moore and Goodwin, speedy playmakers brought in to stretch the field. Cleveland invested heavily into fixing its defensive front, and it’s up to Schwartz to improve a unit that woefully underperformed in 2022. Thornhill, who won a Super Bowl with the Chiefs last season, should improve a secondary beset by communication problems throughout much of last season. This is a critical season for coach Kevin Stefanski, who enters Year 4 with his most talented roster and expectations that the Browns will challenge Cincinnati for the AFC North title.