Why Deshaun Watson doesn’t care who call plays; and what he thinks of new OC Ken Dorsey so far: Mary Kay Cabot (2024)

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Kevin Stefanski has a running joke with a Browns beat writer that he’ll be the first to know when he decides who will call plays, because he asks the question so much.

But Deshaun Watson, for one, won’t be waiting for the punchline.

Watson, coming off surgery to repair his fractured shoulder, couldn’t care less if Stefanski retains the play-calling chore, or hands it over to new offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey.

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The fact that Stefanski is taking his time with the decision means he’s giving serious consideration to letting Dorsey handle it. By the same token, he didn’t announce he was going to do it himself over Alex Van Pelt in 2020 until right before the season.

“No, it doesn’t (matter),” Watson said at his offseason program availability on Tuesday.

Why not?

“Because they both work together,” Watson said. “So they both have the same mindset. They both have the headsets and communicate. So for me, whoever calls the plays is going to call the plays. We as an offense and as a quarterback, we’ve still got to go execute and go out there and perform.”

Heading into his third season with the Browns, Watson hit it off immediately with his new coordinator when Dorsey and Stefanski flew to Los Angeles to have dinner with Watson last month. With a mutual friend and colleague in Cam Newton, whom Dorsey coached in Carolina, they already had some common ground. Dorsey also spent the past four seasons coaching Bills quarterback Josh Allen, whom Watson admires.

With Dorsey in his ear, Watson knows he’ll be in good hands in terms of when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em, when to run and when to slide.

“Those are very similar guys to myself,” Watson said. “But for me, I just try to, whatever offense is getting called, I try to execute as best as I possibly can. So hopefully, yeah, I’ll be able to showcase my skills that I’ve shown before in this league.”

Watson took it in stride when the Browns parted ways with Van Pelt in January, and hired Dorsey, the former Bills coordinator.

“It’s part of the business,” Watson said. “I kind of heard through the weeds there might be a change, but I wasn’t sure. Me and AVP have a great relationship, we built that over the last two years. We went to dinner, talked about vacations and still talk to this day. So I think he’s going to do a hell of a job over there in New England.

“And then of course with Dorsey here, he’s going to do a heck of a job for us to be able to try to take this offense to another level. So as far as my reaction, of course I love AVP, but business is part of this and that’s out of my control.”

Just three days into the offseason program, Watson can already see big changes in the offensive scheme, including more of a spread philosophy. In addition to Dorsey, Stefanski is getting input from his completely overhauled offensive staff, with receivers coach Chad O’Shea the only position coach holdover.

Why Deshaun Watson doesn’t care who call plays; and what he thinks of new OC Ken Dorsey so far: Mary Kay Cabot (1)

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“It’s really good,” Watson said of the changes. “A lot of opportunities for the receivers to be able to really showcase their skills. A lot of guys moving around, a lot of guys being able to play different spots and then myself to just be free and not really kind of controlled in a sense and really just kind of go out there and be able to showcase the spread offense, throw it around, run around and make some plays happen. So that’s very exciting for myself.”

Even though he’ll likely have to take it easy when team drills begin during organized team activities in May, Watson said he wouldn’t have missed the start of the offseason program for the world.

“For me it’s always been important,” he said. “I’ve always reported on the first day, so it’s always been important for me to just get around the guys, get with the team, build that chemistry, build that friendship, build that locker room that we had last year and it starts with of course the quarterbacks. If we’re in here leading by example and every day putting in extra time, everyone else is going to see us and follow.

“Me being in the facility and being around the coaches and being around the players, I love doing it. This is what I love to do.”

He acknowledged it’s even more important this year to get to know Dorsey and the new staff.

“That’s one thing you can’t get back is time,” Watson said. “Me being here face to face, being able to hear (Dorsey’s) voice, hear how he communicates, hear how he runs things, calls things a little bit different than Kevin or a AVP did the previous two years, it’s good to be around that and we can kind of communicate. It can do the same thing for him, get around me and see how I operate, how I learn, what’s good, what’s not good, what we want to change. The first two days, we’ve had a lot of conversation and a lot of meetings and it’s been really good.”

He said his carefully prescribed rehab program, as set forth by his Los Angeles-based surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache, is designed to have him ready to start the season.

“Everything is aligned with that as far as the new offense, the timing with the receivers, with my skillset getting on the field,” he said. “So I’m doing everything that I can to make sure I follow that.”

Watson noted that the mental side of the game is very important, especially for a player coming off an injury and being limited in the offseason, and one learning a new coordinator and possible play-caller.

“Certain things are going to carry over, but it’s going to be a lot of new things and we got to know how he communicates his offense, he communicates the way that him and Kevin are communicating so we all can be on the same page,” he said. “It’s a lot of different new moving parts, especially throughout the position groups.

“The offensive line who’s very familiar with the past of what they’ve been coached on. And then the receivers, the running backs. We’ve seen it on the defensive side last year that when we brought in a new DC how everything kind of meshed together. And if we can put the time in like they did last year, I think we can do the same thing and take a huge leap.”

Watson stressed that he won’t have a mental block in returning to the field.

“It won’t be (an issue),” he said. “It won’t be.”

By the same token, he vowed not to put undue pressure on himself coming off two mostly lost seasons, with only six starts apiece because of the suspension and injuries.

“If I would’ve played the full year and we would’ve won the Super Bowl, it would’ve been the same idea and vice versa,” he said. “So for me it’s just taking it one day at a time, building a leadership that we built and carried over from last year and getting this team exactly where we need to get to and to get ready to play each and every week.”

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Why Deshaun Watson doesn’t care who call plays; and what he thinks of new OC Ken Dorsey so far: Mary Kay Cabot (2024)
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