It has been over three weeks since Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson injured his throwing shoulder at home against the Tennessee Titans. The communication from the Cleveland Browns to the fans and media has not been clear. With that comes much speculation from those same fans and people on social media who thrive on hot takes. Let’s focus on facts and what we know.
We know that the injury occurred in the second quarter of the week three victory over the Titans. Watson was able to finish the game and put together his best performance as a Brown. When the preparation for the week four game against the Ravens unfolded, Watson was severely limited in his practice participation. Despite that Watson and Cleveland Browns said that he will play against Baltimore that week. We all know that he didn’t play and rookie Dorian Thomson-Robinson got the start. The result was disastrous. The decision for Watson not to play was controversial. The controversy comes from what head coach Kevin Stefanski said regarding being medically cleared and the decision to not play was Deshaun’s. According to general manager Andrew Berry, that was partially true. The decision for Watson to not play was due to his inability to throw with adequate velocity. And it was a group decision that was made the morning of the game. And yet the speculation has continued.
What helped the Browns on the injuries was also detrimental to the communication for the team. The bye week gave them a week to heal from injuries. Not having a game also gave a lot of people an opportunity to offer conjecture on Watson’s injury. Many theories ran rampant online and on social media. Some people were even calling Deshaun Watson a wimp. Yes, the same player that took a bus from Clemson University to Jacksonville Florida to play with a bruised lung. He couldn’t fly on an airplane with his lung condition. Watson also played an entire game with a torn ACL at Clemson.
Knowing his history, I find it hard to believe he would simply quit on his team and not play when he can. The shoulder injury has been reported to be a rotator cuff bruise that inhibits Watson from throwing hard. The reported time to heal is two to six weeks. We are now closing in on week four since the injury occurred. Could the communication from Browns have been better on this? Absolutely, the criticism for that is fair. What is not fair is to speculate on a player’s toughness knowing his history of playing through injuries.
Next Sunday, the Browns travel to Indianapolis to play the Colts. Could Deshaun Watson come back and lead the Browns to a consecutive victory for the first time this season? Possibly, unsubstantiated reports say that Watson is trending to play on Sunday. Until we are told for sure, all we can do is speculate.