Quarterback Jacoby Brissett Expresses Confidence in Starting Role During Deshaun Watson’s Suspension

by Bryan Fyalkowski

A month ago, Jacoby Brissett was third in the Cleveland Browns’ quarterback pecking order. But since the trade that sent Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers and the six-game suspension of Deshaun Watson, Brissett is likely the starter for the first part of the season.

On Tuesday after practice at Browns training camp, the 29-year-old was asked about his current mental state.

“Since I’ve been in this league, it’s been the next man up. It’s been my situation throughout my career,” Brissett said, via ESPN. “Nothing that I’m unfamiliar with. Always been ready to go whenever my number’s called, and that’s the case at this point now.”

He continued: “So that experience obviously helps with not only the playing. But also like the mindset of understanding that you gotta be ready whenever your number is called.”

Brissett has played in 60 games since the New England Patriots picked him in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He has a 14-23 record in 25 starts, although it is a more respectable 10-12 mark if you take out his campaign with the lowly 2017 Indianapolis Colts. The quarterback has a career rating of 83.0 and a 60.2% completion rate, throwing for 7,742 yards and 36 touchdowns compared to 17 interceptions.

Brissett has a large enough sample size to come to the conclusion that he is not a very effective NFL quarterback. However, Cleveland might be able to get by just fine with him under center through the first six games with Watson suspended. Particularly, the first four are winnable – with the Panthers, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers and Atlanta Falcons on the schedule.

Tougher tests in the Los Angeles Chargers and Patriots follow, but the Browns would surely be happy to escape the first six contests with a 3-3 record. A strong defense and running game – along with a non-losing effort from Brissett – might be able to get the team there.

Jacoby Brissett Will Get More First-Team Reps in Training Camp

Prior to Sue L. Robinson’s announcement on Monday morning, Cleveland head coach Kevin Stefanski confirmed that Jacoby Brissett would be the starter in case Watson was suspended. Although Watson has taken first-team reps – and received a warm welcome from the fans – early on in training camp, Stefanski says Brissett will assume more and more of those as the preseason approaches.

“[That’s] extremely important, obviously, because those are the guys that will be with us,” Stefanski said. “We have a plan in place, and we believe in the plan. And we’re going about the plan the right way, and that’ll come when it comes.”

The Browns’ first exhibition contest will be an away game on August 12 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The team follows with two home preseason games against the Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears.