Jacoby Brissett to Start over Josh Rosen for Browns If Deshaun Watson Is Suspended

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJuly 27, 2022

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 16: Jacoby Brissett #7 of the Cleveland Browns throws a pass during the Cleveland Browns mandatory minicamp at FirstEnergy Stadium on June 16, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)
Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski confirmed Jacoby Brissett will be the team's starting quarterback if Deshaun Watson is suspended.

"Jacoby is our backup quarterback," Stefanski told reporters Wednesday. "If Deshaun is unavailable, Jacoby's the starter."

According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the Browns "privately are bracing for an eight-game suspension" for Watson under the NFL's personal-conduct policy after accusations of sexual assault and sexual misconduct by at least 24 women.

Cleveland has prepared for this possibility by splitting time between Watson and Brissett in practices.

"I wouldn't get into like the exact percentage, but they're both going to get a ton of reps," Stefanski said.

There was some speculation Josh Rosen could work his way up the depth chart after he agreed to a one-year deal with the Browns, but the 2018 top-10 draft pick has a long road ahead of him.

Stefanski said Wednesday that Rosen is the No. 4 and Josh Dobbs "has a leg up" in the battle for No. 3.

"I feel like Josh Dobbs has done an outstanding job throughout the spring," the coach said.

Brissett is by far the more experienced of the group if Watson is unavailable. The 29-year-old has made 37 starts in the NFL across his time with the New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins.

With the Colts, Brissett spent two years as the team's primary quarterback—one with Andrew Luck out with an injury and a second after Luck retired. He was at his best in 2019 when he totaled 18 passing touchdowns and just six interceptions for an 88.0 quarterback rating. He added 228 rushing yards and four touchdowns that season.

Last season, Brissett made five starts and 11 total appearances for the Dolphins while Tua Tagovailoa was limited by injuries.

The experience could be valuable to keep the Browns in playoff contention.