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Watson returns favor after Browns passed on him


Published: Tue, October 17, 2017 @ 12:05 a.m.

Watson drills Cleveland for 3 touchdown passes

Associated Press

CLEVELAND

The incessant failure has been unbearably painful for the Browns and their fans.

On Sunday, Deshaun Watson made it feel even worse.

Houston’s getting-better-by-the-week rookie quarterback, a player Cleveland could have drafted this year but chose to go in a different direction, threw three touchdown passes as the Texans kept the Browns winless with a 33-17 victory.

The outing didn’t surprise coach Hue Jackson, who fell to 1-21 in two seasons with the Browns (0-6).

“What I saw from Deshaun Watson yesterday is what I anticipated he would be,” Jackson said Monday on a conference call.

“He is a good football player. They have a good system for him. He is playing good football. He did some great things. I am not surprised by what he is doing.”

Jackson’s praise was expected. After all, the coach bonded with Watson during the months leading up to the draft, even creating the impression the Browns might draft him.

Cleveland passed. On Monday, Jackson was asked if that was a mistake.

“How can we miss on him?” he said. “We made a decision. He is in Houston. They picked him. We made the pick that we decided to take. That is how that works. He is not on our football team. He is on the Houston Texans team, and we didn’t pick him.”

Watson’s performance came while the Browns chose to sit their own rookie quarterback, DeShone Kizer, in the hope that he’d learn something from a week watching on the sideline.

His backup, Kevin Hogan, became Cleveland’s 28th different starter since 1999 and threw three interceptions Sunday. He will likely return to his role as second-stringer behind Kizer when the Browns host Tennessee on Sunday.

The break may do Kizer some good.

For Browns fans, there is no break in sight, and the decision to pass on Watson has only raised more questions about Jackson and a front office feeling some heat.

Following Sunday’s game, Jackson rebutted a report that he had texted Watson on draft day and told him to “be ready.”

Watson stood by his claim that he was in communication with Jackson, a dialogue that seemed to underscore the coach’s belief that the Browns were going to select the former Clemson star.

However, after taking defensive end Myles Garrett first overall, Cleveland traded the No. 12 pick to Houston so the Texans could draft Watson.

A year earlier, Cleveland’s analytics-friendly decision makers, led by Sashi Brown, traded out of the No. 2 pick and Philadelphia took QB Carson Wentz.


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