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Alex Van Pelt: We need to work through the rust with Deshaun Watson

Mike Florio and Chris Simms describe how the Browns offense, which still is adjusting to having Deshaun Watson at the helm, will hold up against an elite Bengals defense in Week 14.

After serving his 11-game suspension, Deshaun Watson showed some serious rust in his Browns debut last week.

Watson admitted after the game that he felt his 700-day layoff from the last game he’d played for the Texans in 2020. But even as the Browns’ slim postseason chances are alive, the club doesn’t anticipate going back to Jacoby Brissett at signal-caller if things aren’t going well offensively in Sunday’s game against the Bengals.

Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt said this week that he thinks Watson’s on-field talent will come through sooner than later.

“His past history would say that he is a lot of those things that you didn’t see,” Van Pelt said, via Mary Kay Cabot of “He’s those things. Those will come back as we get more reps and more game experience with him. Again, it was kind of what we expected with some rust there, and that is real. Again, just the work he has put in this week to improve those areas has already shown up.”

Watson finished last week’s game 12-of-22 passing for 131 yards with an interception. He also had 21 yards on seven carries.

“I think personally, I’d like to see [Watson] get as many reps as he can regardless of how it’s going,” Van Pelt said. “We need to work through the rust, get it completely knocked off and feeling good about the end of the year.”

That is the reality for the Browns. Though the team is technically still “in the hunt” at 5-7, getting Watson primed for future success must be the priority after everything the team gave up to acquire him in the offseason.