Browns Diary, Week 4: A Test of Character
Ravens 28, Browns 3
Well, that was nostalgic, wasn’t it? The Cleveland Browns getting utterly demolished and overrun while an overmatched rookie quarterback hands out interceptions like Halloween candy? Absolutely … that’s like going into the pocket of an old jacket and finding your used movie ticket for “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.” It just brings back so many vivid and powerful memories, so few of them good ones.
I’m not exactly sure what to do with this stinker, because a whole lot of things happened that remain unclear. For one thing, quarterback Deshaun Watson decided at the very last minute that he could not go, because of some sort of mysterious shoulder injury. And when I say he decided this at the last minute, well, on Friday, according to Mary Kay Cabot over at Cleveland.com, he “chuckled at the notion of sitting out the Ravens game,” and simply said, “I’m OK, I’ll play.”
On Saturday, too, the Browns felt hopeful he would play.
Then, on Sunday morning, he threw a few short passes and, in coach Kevin Stefanski’s words: He did not feel comfortable to be the player we need him to be.”
I don’t know what that means, and I also don’t even know what this shoulder injury is — his shoulder is not separated or torn, “structurally he’s OK,” Stefanski said — and also I don’t know why the decision wasn’t made until Sunday morning, and also I can’t abide Deshaun Watson, who best I can tell STILL hasn’t settled all of the 26 lawsuits brought against him for sexual misconduct. So, unfair as it is, I’m not going to pretend that it’s gallant for a quarterback to decide last-minute to sit out a huge game against a division rival because he just didn’t think he could play at his best.
Is that fair? No, of course, it’s not fair. If a quarterback says he’s hurt, you accept that he’s hurt, especially when it’s a shoulder injury. Watson had not missed a game for injury since 2017. He’s proven to be tough. “He tried like crazy to get ready,” Stefanski insisted. “It’s not a pain tolerance thing, as everybody knows, his history speaks for itself in terms of that. He just didn’t feel he could operate at enough of a level to play for us today.”
Surely he deserves the benefit of the doubt.
Only he doesn’t get it, not from me, because everything about Watson and the Browns’ desperate signing of him crushes my spirit. He makes being a Browns fan so absurdly hard. The dispassionate sports observer in me can say, “Hey, his shoulder is hurt, there’s a bye week coming up, the smart thing to do is sit this one out and get healthy for what will be a terrifying game against the 49ers.”
But the Browns Diary isn’t meant to be dispassionate; and the fan side of me says
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