Cleveland Browns’ Jacoby Brissett ‘ready to go’ as starter after Deshaun Watson suspension

BEREA, Ohio — Jacoby Brissett said his past experiences as a backup quarterback have prepared him for the situation in Cleveland, where he’s in line to take over for suspended Cleveland Browns starter Deshaun Watson.

“It’s been my situation throughout my career,” Brissett said Tuesday. “Nothing that I’m unfamiliar with. Always been ready to go, whenever my number’s called, and that’s the case at this point now.”

On Monday, disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson suspended Watson for six games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, after accusations of sexual misconduct. The NFL Players Association and the league have until 9 a.m. ET Thursday to file a written appeal of Robinson’s ruling.

In a statement Sunday night, the union made it clear that it will “stand by” her decision and urged the NFL to do the same. The league, in a statement Monday, said it was determining its next steps.

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski on Tuesday said Watson would speak to reporters once the appeals process is complete.

Last week, Stefanski reiterated that Brissett, whom the Browns signed to a one-year deal during the offseason, would become Cleveland’s starter should Watson face a suspension.

Brissett has filled in at starting quarterback under unusual circumstances early in the season before.

As a rookie for the New England Patriots in 2016, he had to step in after Tom Brady was suspended for Deflategate and Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a shoulder injury. Just before the start of the 2019 season, Brissett became the starter for the Indianapolis Colts after Andrew Luck’s surprise retirement. Then last year, Brissett replaced injured starter Tua Tagovailoa in Week 2 for the Miami Dolphins.

Despite being a backup for much of his career, Brissett has 37 starts with a record of 14-23.

“Since I’ve been in this league, it’s been the next man up,” Brissett said. “So that experience obviously helps with not only the playing but also like the mindset of understanding — you gotta be ready whenever your number is called.”

To this point, Watson has received the overwhelming majority of first-team snaps in training camp, but Stefanski has indicated that Robinson’s ruling will eventually clear the way for Brissett to get more work with the first team.

“[That’s] extremely important, obviously, because those are the guys that will be with us,” Brissett said. “We have a plan in place, and we believe in the plan. And we’re going about to plan the right way, and that’ll come when it comes.”

Brissett said that he had not spoken to Watson about the suspension and that he wasn’t planning to read Robinson’s 16-page report.

“I feel that is Deshaun’s business,” Brissett said, “and I would like to stay out of that.”

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