Storm clouds, Deshaun Watson & the quarterbacks – Terry Pluto’s Browns Scribbles

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Scribbles in my notebook following the Browns’ 24-13 preseason victory in Jacksonville on Friday:

1. The Deshaun Watson camp is trying to reach a settlement with the NFL. They leaked word to the Associated Press that they would be willing to accept an eight-game suspension and a $5 million fine. Then Watson issued an apology “to all the women that I’ve impacted in this situation.” The comments were made to Browns sideline reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala before the game.

2. You can make your own decision about the apology, as can the massage therapists who were part of the various civil suits – 23 settled by Washington, 30 by the Houston Texans. The Watson camp is backing far away from its demands of no suspension and Watson’s comments about “never assaulting or disrespecting any woman.” They clearly are trying to avoid a year-long suspension, which the NFL is seeking on appeal.

3. Perhaps the NFL and Watson’s camp are working on a settlement beyond the six games ruled by Judge Sue Robinson. The NFL is expected to rule on the appeal of the six-game sentence soon. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has pushed for a one-year suspension for what he calls Watson’s “predatory behavior.” Doesn’t all this seem to eventually be headed into the court system?

4. This has been an unsavory case, reflecting poorly on the Browns, Watson and the NFL. The Browns willingly became a part of it when they traded for Watson knowing all the civil suits against him. I still can’t believe the Browns traded six picks (including three first-rounders) and gave Watson the NFL’s largest guaranteed contract ($230 million), but that was their decision. And they have to deal with the consequences.

5. Most fans writing me are either

a) Angry the Browns did this;

b) Wanting to suggest a way to litigate the situation and find a settlement; or

c) Sick of the story and the endless speculation.

I hate how it has fractured the fan base. I don’t like how it has the coaching staff in a tough spot, preparing for the season and also having to answer questions that should only be handled by Watson and the Browns ownership. But the key people won’t discuss it publicly because of all the legal ramifications.

Illustration by Ted Crow for Crowquill. The Browns handily won their preseason opener against the Jaguars, but Deshaun Watson’s debut was disappointing.

6. Coach Kevin Stefanski said Jacoby Brissett will start taking the majority of snaps with the starters in practice. The Browns have to be realistic preparing Brissett as a starter because of the suspension looming over Watson. Brissett didn’t play Friday. It’s about time he’s given most of the attention in practice.

7. As for Watson’s performance, he looked like a guy who hadn’t played in 19 months. His support was awful – two dropped passes by Anthony Schwartz, two holding penalties and a false start. All that in the first quarter. Watson was 1-of-5 passing for 7 yards. I’m not reading much into that.

8. But I also was impressed with my first long look at Joshua Dobbs in action. The 27-year-old from Tennessee has been in the NFL for four years but threw only 17 regular-season passes. He was intriguing Friday night, completing 10 of 13 passes for 108 yards and a TD.

9. Dobbs was poised. He is athletic and kept plays alive with scrambles, then made wise decisions when he did throw. Let’s see more of him. Perhaps the Browns do have their backup to Brissett.

10. Stefanski on Dobbs: “Josh does a nice job in and out of the huddle, sees it very clearly. And I think his athleticism really showed up. Certainly had a couple of scrambles. Had a touchdown where he had a free runner right in his face going to his left, extended the play and dumped it over to Jerome (Ford). So an impressive performance by Josh.”

A DECENT FIRST GAME

Josh Rosen completed 6 of 7 passes in Jacksonville.

John Kuntz, cleveland.com

11. Josh Rosen was solid, completing 6 of 7 passes for 56 yards. The 25-year-old Rosen is on his fifth team. He has failed in Arizona and Miami, where he was given a chance to start. My guess is we’ll see a lot of Dobbs and Rosen in the final two preseason games.

12. I have a soft spot for Rosen because he was my No. 1-ranked QB before the 2018 draft…I have to live with that pick. For what it’s worth, I had Josh Allen at No. 2 and Baker Mayfield as No. 3. I dismissed Lamar Jackson and Sam Darnold. So as a GM, I would have been fired after that draft.

13. I will be speaking at the Bay Village Library on Tuesday Aug. 23 at 7 pm It’s free. I’ll meet fans, sign books and it will be fun.

RECENT TERRY PLUTO COLUMNS

How about the Guardians? Now this is a fun team.

Browns Scribbles: Watson’s first game, how about a Ford?

Looking for a moose – Terry Pluto’s Faith & You

What the Franmil Reyes move tells you about the Guardians

Kareem Hunt still wants to be traded, but made a wise move returning to full practice sessions.

What I wrote when Cleveland made the Francisco Lindor trade

A dog in the dugout, a horse in the outfield and a Hall of Famer behind the microphone

Will the Deshaun Watson Case ever end? Not for a long time

Browns should be thankful from the judge’s ruling in Deshaun Watson case

Why did the judge rule as she did in the Deshaun Watson case

Scribbles in my Guardians notebook as the trade deadline looms

What can the Browns expect from Jacoby Brissett?

Nick Chubb, Amari Cooper & a Watson free zone

What I’m hearing about the Guardians as the trade deadline looms.

Terry’s Talkin’ podcast: How about Sean Murphy to Cleveland? What about the Browns?

Hey, Terry, why do the Browns have so much salary cap room?

Talking to myself about the Browns and Josh Rosen

How about Cleveland trading all those Cy Young Award winners?

JIM DONOVAN, PART 1: The kid with the cassette tape recorder and the big dream.

JIM DONOVAN, PART 2: Donovan gets the Browns job, and the fans love him

JIM DONOVAN, PART 3: The series ends with the personal story of Donovan’s decades-long battle with cancer and the comfort he finds with his family and on his small horse farm.

On being Kevin Stefanski

The NFL should penalize Houston for its role in the Deshaun Watson case

Leave a Comment