DETECT: Are the Browns being too cautious about Deshaun Watson’s shoulder injury because of Baker Mayfield in 2021?

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Stay Here, Mary Kay! I answer the Browns’ questions about Deshaun Watson, a possible veteran quarterback, and more.



Hello, Mary Kay:

Greetings from Texas! I wonder if you think the Browns’ caution regarding Deshaun Watson was an overreaction/reaction to how they handled Baker Mayfield’s shoulder injury in 2021. Obviously they should have had to bench Mayfield until his shoulder healed that year, but let his inflated ego overwhelm their judgment and let him play injured. Maybe they went too far trying to avoid making the same mistake with Deshaun? —Jim Bays, Argyle, Texas


Hi Jim:

I don’t think the Browns are letting Mayfield’s left shoulder injury affect how they handle Watson’s bruised right shoulder this season. The Browns handle injuries on a case-by-case basis, and Watson’s injury — a deep bruise — directly impacts his ability to drive the ball without pain.


Additionally, the Browns have a fully guaranteed $230 million investment in Watson, and they hope to avoid an extended absence in the second year of a five-year contract. They will wait to play him until he can throw normally and without pain, which could be as early as next week in Indianapolis.


It would take four weeks from when he was injured against the Titans, and within two to six weeks an athlete should normally recover from such an injury. But if he’s not at or near 100%, they’ll be cautious and give him the time he needs to fully recover.


Hello Mary Kay! If Watson is out for a few more weeks, do you see the Browns sticking with P.J. Or is Walker trying to trade for another backup quarterback? -Amy, Avon, Ohio


Hi Amy:

I think the Browns are confident that Watson will settle in soon and they won’t need to trade for a veteran quarterback. They also believe that Dorian Thompson-Robinson will continue to learn and be ready to take office in the future.


Walker will also have been around longer and be more acclimated to the scheme and the personnel. At this point, I don’t see them trading for a veteran quarterback, but anything can happen between now and the deadline on Oct. 31.


Hey, Mary Kay: I understand the Browns do not owe us fans explanations about injuries, but why have they been so secretive about Watson’s injury?They could have saved themselves a lot of PR backlash if they just told the media he was out earlier in the week. — Kevin Naugle, Brunswick, Ohio


Hey, Kevin: The Browns are often vague about injuries for competitive reasons, like they were with left guard Joel Bitonio even though he underwent arthroscopic knee surgery during the bye week and wasn’t going to be ready for the 49ers. The 49ers are such a stout defense, the Browns know they need all the help they can get, and keeping San Francisco in the dark was prudent.


In the case of Watson, it was part competitive advantage this week, and part not knowing when the shoulder will come around. Next week, he might be “day-to-day” again, at least early in the week, and then it might be evident by Thursday whether or not he’s playing.


Hey Mary Kay: I am so sick of these press conferences from Kevin Stefanski! He says nothing 99.9% of the time, and then the one time he goes out of his way to say that Deshaun Watson has been cleared to play. This has created so much confusion again. Why does this organization keep on getting in its own way? They need a head coach that can not only lead but knows how to squash drama right away! Stefanski is not it. #leadership! – Jeff Lerner, Avon Lake, Ohio


Hey, Jeff: The messaging on Watson’s shoulder injury has been difficult, because he really believed he’d be ready to face the Ravens on Oct. 1, and had the Browns convinced he’d play, right up until the warmup session that morning.


A rotator cuff contusion in a quarterback’s throwing shoulder is a tricky thing because it causes pain when he tries to do his job. I think Watson’s deep contusion is taking a little longer to heal than originally thought, and no one really knows exactly when he’ll be pain-free.


The Browns are hopeful he’ll be able to play in Indianapolis next week, but they’ll also err on the side of caution. It’s just been hard to address is adequately because some of it is subjective. Hopefully for Watson and the Browns, it will heal soon and be a non-factor the rest of the season.

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