Browns expect Deshaun Watson to debut vs Texans but not to 'shoulder everything'

Getty Images

Deshaun Watson is set to take over as the Cleveland Browns' starter from Week 13, but the team do not expect the suspended quarterback to "shoulder everything" as they make a late playoff run.

Watson was handed an 11-game suspension and a $5million fine following sexual assault and misconduct allegations.

That means the QB is yet to debut for the Browns after his March trade from the Houston Texans, which was followed by a lucrative new contract in Cleveland.

But the Browns are already putting together plans to integrate Watson into their lineup, with the 27-year-old "back in the building" and "in great shape", according to general manager Andrew Berry.

"He's done everything and more that's been asked of him," Berry added.

While Watson has been sidelined, Jacoby Brissett has deputised as the starting QB for the 3-5 Browns.

"Jacoby has been everything that we hoped when we signed him," Berry said on Wednesday, but he confirmed when asked Watson would be in line to start as soon as he was available.

That would mean a Browns debut against his former team the Texans on December 4, by which point the team will hope they are not cut adrift in the AFC North.

The Browns are third now, already two games behind leaders the Baltimore Ravens, but Berry says they are not looking for Watson to perform a one-man rescue act.

"We spent a lot of time with Deshaun in the spring in camp and banked a lot of good reps during the time," he said.

"Our approach isn't really with any quarterback but certainly with the time that Deshaun has had off to expect him to shoulder everything.

"That's not necessarily how the team is designed or put together. I don't know that would be a fair ask for any quarterback.

"In a couple of weeks, we'll be in that world where we're getting him ready to play, and we'll handle it appropriately."

Watson last played in 2020, but Berry added: "I don't think that transition will be quite as challenging as maybe some are anticipating."