The Cleveland Browns bye week has been mostly quiet. GM Andrew Berry spoke including stating, to no surprise, that QB Deshaun Watson would start when he returns from suspension. A couple of reports shed some light on the struggles between the team and RB Kareem Hunt.
Besides that, a week for Cleveland to get healthy and ready for the second half of their season.
Looking back, it is surprising that it is even a question whether Watson would take over. Most expected that the Browns would be treading water on offense awaiting his return. Instead, the team has a top-five offense including top 10 in passing.
Much of that success is due to the quality offensive line and run game but Jacoby Brissett has led a pretty productive passing attack as well. Amari Cooper has been a true top receiver, with speed, while David Njoku has inserted himself into the picture as a top-tier tight end after signing a huge contract this offseason.
So far, Brissett has thrown for 1,862 yards (11th in the NFL) on 63.9% completion. While his seven touchdowns to five interception ratio isn’t great, Cleveland has relied heavily on Nick Chubb (10 TDs) in the redzone. In perspective, Brissett’s five INTs is the same or less than Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray, Matthew Stafford, Kirk Cousins and Lamar Jackson.
Pro Football Focus labeled Brissett as the team’s “biggest surprise” with his 77.5 grade.
What could be even more surprising is that Brissett grades out as the eighth-best quarterback in the NFL just ahead of Burrow and Jackson. The quarterback ranking list has some interesting players in interesting spots. Geno Smith is second, Aaron Rodgers is seventh and Tom Brady is 12th.
For reference, Baker Mayfield is the 38th-graded quarterback (last) this year. Last year, he graded at 63.6 while his best season, 2018, had him at 83.2. In 2020, during the team’s run to the playoffs, was graded at 81.6.
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Brissett’s play has been good, not great but, given expectations, it is a positive surprise. He has three more games to build his resume before Watson takes over. At that point, Watson will be expected to far exceed what Brissett (and Mayfield) have done for the team.
How surprised are you by Brissett’s play so far this season?