The Cleveland Browns finally saw QB Deshaun Watson on the field for an NFL game as their starting quarterback and no one could like what they saw. A terrible performance was only offset by playing the lowly Houston Texans and getting great play from the defense and special teams.
Watson’s debut will easily be forgotten if he turns things around quickly against a tough finishing schedule. Getting back to the level of play he had prior to sitting out almost two full seasons may take a while.
One of the hopes with having Watson in at quarterback was that he would make things easier on RB Nick Chubb. For too long, Chubb had to make things easier on the passing offense and faced eight-man, stacked boxes in order to do so. With Watson, in theory, the passing attack would make things easier on Chubb and the rushing attack.
At least on the first try at it, that didn’t happen.
Last time we checked in, Chubb had faced eight defenders in the box on 33.75% of his snaps including a ludicrous 54.55% of snaps against the Miami Dolphins where he was stymied. This week, against the Texans, his season average (31.8%) was eclipsed as he faced extra defenders 35.29% of the time.
Given the number of draft picks and the size of the contract given to Watson, everything will be analyzed from top to bottom. That is reasonable. It is also reasonable to expect things to improve as this season finishes up and into next year. For one game, Watson’s arrival didn’t make Chubb’s life easier. We will see if that changes over the next five weeks.
Are you surprised Houston committed so many guys to the box in Watson’s return game?