Will Deshuan Watson ever regain his old form? Not everyone thinks so.
The Cleveland Browns have a big money investment in the not-so-beloved Deshaun Watson. The former Houston Texans standout was a Pro Bowl and All-Pro level quarterback for most of his time with the team. While he did suffer a bad knee injury as a rookie, he’s largely played well and been healthy.
If it wasn’t for the baggage that comes with him, he would’ve been a huge get for any team looking to upgrade at quarterback. Except, he does have baggage. Lots of it. The type that can drown a person’s soul and mind. Coupled that with a truly underwhelming debut with the Browns in 2022 and many wonder what Watson will look like down the road.
Can he regain his old form? Many, myself included, believe that if not, he’ll get very close to it. Yet, not everyone holds that opinion.
Jason La Canfora is an NFL insider for the Washington Post and is held in pretty high esteem around the league. He was on 92.3 last week and he stated that he believes Watson will never regain his old form and cited the emotional and mental impact that comes along with being exposed for his misdeeds against women.
Will the Cleveland Browns ever see Deshaun Watson ever regain his old form?
La Canfora believes that Watson’s 2022 season is likely his new normal. I’m not in the same camp. I don’t believe he’ll look like he did in Houston, but it has nothing to do with his emotional stability. I believe that if Watson doesn’t regain form, it’ll be due to his prolonged time off.
There’s this strange thing that happens to high-level athletes that miss significant time for whatever reason, they’re usually unable to regain their old form. Now, I see this mostly in long layoffs in MMA, and not necessarily in football. There aren’t many examples of that.
Yet, there is one that comes to mind and that’s of Le’Veon Bell. Bell was just 26 years old when he decided to sit out his contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The versatile running back had several seasons of 1800+ from scrimmage and was seen as a big get for the New York Jets, who he eventually signed with.
Yet, he never again looked like he once did. Since 2019, he played for four teams, and he never got his old form back. Bell was healthy, Watson, on the other hand, has a history of knee problems. Too much time off can sap you of your athletic ability and with a history of knee issues to deal with, Watson will likely not regain his old movement.
That’s ok, however, because Watson’s deep ball accuracy is really what sets him apart from most. As long as his knees are still good enough to chuck deep bombs to open receivers, he should be fine.