There are players that have different situations that cause them to have bad seasons or no season at all. In this article, I want to highlight one player who has shown greatness but for reasons off the field that could not be accepted or tolerated caused him to have an underwhelming to no season in 2022.
This article is not to justify what he did, nor argue his guilt or innocence but to give reasons, between his talent and the situation he is in could put him in a prime spot to make a massive comeback.
The Case for Deshaun Watson to be Comeback Player of the Year
The first player I would like to discuss is Deshaun Watson. Unless you have been living under a rock for the past two and a half years, you know the issues that Watson has been dealing with. I will not go through the details of the off-the-field issues that he was dealing with. The main fact is that Deshaun Watson did not play football for a little over two years, on top of receiving an 11-game suspension from the NFL. He did not return to action until week 12 of the 2022 NFL season.
The Wonder Years
Before the last few games we saw from Watson last year, he was an elite talent. He was a smart quarterback with an outstanding arm and a running upside that he could also rely on when needed. The last full season Watson had with the Houston Texans was the best season in his career.
If you talk to people, a lot of them think that in the 2020 season, he still had DeAndre Hopkins as his alpha receiver, but Hopkins was traded to the Arizona Cardinals before the beginning of that season. Deshaun Watson posted a stat line of 382 completions on 544 attempts for a completion percentage of 70.2 for 4,823 yards and 33 touchdowns with only seven picks. He also posted 444 yards on the ground on 90 attempts and three touchdowns. If there were 17 games played two years ago, Watson would have more than likely surpassed 5,000 yards passing.
Six-Game Mirage of 2022
Fast forward to the last six games of 2022 for Watson. He did not look good at all, but it was to be expected being out for two years and having little to almost no time with the team because of the 11-game suspension that he had to serve. Watson is still young at age 27 and has a lot left in the tank. There were some underlining good takes that you can look at from last season’s performance, for instance, he is still a willing runner posting 36 attempts for 175 yards and one touchdown in six games.
The Team Around Him in 2023
This year, Watson has arguably a better cast for success around him than he had with the Houston Texans. He’ll play with Amari Cooper, Elijah Moore, who was acquired in the offseason for a second-round pick, star running back Nick Chubb, and the big rookie prospect Cedric Tillman.
Another huge thing Watson did not have in Houston that he has here is a great offensive line. PFF has the Cleveland Browns’ offensive line ranked number two in the NFL right under the great offensive line of the Philadelphia Eagles. The organization has really put Deshaun Watson in a position to succeed and this Cleveland Browns team will at the least be a very competitive opposition in the AFC North at least as long as they can get at least 80 percent of the vintage Deshaun Watson.
The Cleveland Browns have shown the confidence that they have in Mr. Watson. The money that they paid him shows that they believe in his talent. With the pieces around him, he is set up for success. Can Deshaun Watson take advantage of this second chance or has he been away too long and is “washed”?
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