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Browns OC Alex Van Pelt: Deshaun Watson has improved tenfold since this time last year

Mike Florio and Chris Simms dissect if Deshaun Watson has what it takes to perform at a high level next season in Cleveland and question if his mental game still is intact.

Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said this week that quarterback Deshaun Watson is where he needs to be in the offense at this point in the offseason, but offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt went a bit further when he spoke to reporters on Wednesday.

Watson was learning the team’s offense at this point last year while also facing a suspension — he would eventually serve an 11-game ban — that forced the team to split reps with Jacoby Brissett to make sure they were prepared for the regular season. Watson now has a year under his belt and nothing impeding his availability, which Van Pelt says has pushed him way ahead of where he was in 2022.

“It’s just his confidence in the system itself, understanding of what we’re asking of him and how to communicate at the line of scrimmage, everything from protections to calling plays in the huddle,” Van Pelt said, via Chris Easterling of the Akron Beacon Journal. “He’s improved tenfold since this time last year. . . . So, I mean, you see it all start to come together playing with a little swagger out there and having some fun.”

Van Pelt said he “literally got goosebumps” after one Watson throw to wide receiver Elijah Moore and the Browns will be hoping that the offseason optimism translates to the fall for their quarterback.