3 Reasons why Deshaun Watson will be a bust in 2022 NFL season

Cleveland Browns Introduce Quarterback Deshaun Watson
Cleveland Browns Introduce Quarterback Deshaun Watson
Ian Van Roy

Deshaun Watson has had as rocky of a run in the last two years as any quarterback in NFL history. After a 2020 season that saw praise from many, the quarterback soon faced a long list of women who accused him of sexual misconduct. Between that and wanting a trade, the quarterback sat out the 2021 season.

Over the next year, the quarterback slowly whittled down his massive legal backlog until it reached a point where the NFL could settle with a final suspension. The final decision is still pending, but the quarterback is banking on seeing the field this season. With the season right around the corner, fans are starting to think pragmatically about his prospects. How will the quarterback fare in 2022?

Some think he will be a breakout success immediately, while others think he'll be a bust. While he's had good seasons in his career before, multiple signs point to the quarterback being a bust in 2022.

Between the rust, pressure, and the under the radar fact that his decline began in Houston, the quarterback has too much to overcome to hit the ground running, or even upright in 2022. Here's why the quarterback is on course for a rough outing this season, assuming he does make it into a regular season game.

#1 - Rust

Cleveland Browns Press Conference
Cleveland Browns Press Conference

Anyone who has stepped away from a job for a sizable length of time and returned will remark just how quick rust can set in. That rust can take a long time to wear off, as well. The brain tends to forget things it deems unnecessary, which is where the term "use it or lose it" comes from.

“I’m truly sorry to all the women that I’ve impacted in this situation. (There are) decisions that I made in my life that put me in this position I would definitely like to have back.” - @deshaunwatson before he got on the #Browns team bus today.

Deshaun Watson hasn't used his football muscles for a year and a half. He may have been watching tape or throwing in self-directed drills, but the quarterback still hasn't played the game. It showed on Friday when his first pass was an ugly overthrow in his first preseason game since 2019, thanks to Covid canceling the 2020 preseason.

Therefore, not only is he rusty from his absence, he hasn't benefitted from a preseason since his third year in the league. As such, the quarterback's struggles will manifest into rough production in 2022. In the NFL, where it is already quite difficult to win due to the ferociousness of the competition, it could feel like a rookie season all over again for him.

Deshaun Watson's night is over. He goes 1/5 for 7 yards. Those 7 yards were all the offense was able to do on 3 drives.

#2 - Pressure

Cleveland Browns Offseason Workout
Cleveland Browns Offseason Workout

Deshaun Watson is walking into the 2022 season with more eyes on him than anyone not named "Tom Brady." Some would argue the quarterback has received even more attention than No. 12. While Brady is well-adjusted to the pressure that comes with the spotlight, Watson is not, especially when the spotlight comes from a distinctly negative place.

People tend to focus on the negative. While Brady generally has a positive, football-focused spotlight on him, Watson has a negative mainstream spotlight on him. Meaning, he's drawn attention across sports and mediums over the two dozen allegations of sexual misconduct. On top of that, he signed a record-setting deal this offseason.


With the ink on the page dry, the pressure on Watson's shoulders will be immense and coming from all different angles. The Browns bet a lot on their new quarterback. They got rid of what many saw as a quality quarterback in Baker Mayfield for Deshaun Watson.

They took on a PR nightmare, and their ruined their bank account for him. If he doesn't deliver, the team will be quick to heap even more pressure on the quarterback. With so much pressure, it will be harder for the quarterback to remain focused.

#3 - Watson's decline already began in Houston

Cleveland Browns Introduce Quarterback Deshaun Watson
Cleveland Browns Introduce Quarterback Deshaun Watson

In Houston, the quarterback saw quality and improvement pretty much across the board in his first three years with the team. According to Pro Football Reference, the quarterback started 3-3 in 2017. Then, he went 11-5 in 2018 but lost in the playoffs in their first game. In 2019, he went 10-6 but won a playoff for the franchise.


However, 2020 was a different story. While he threw for a career-high 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions, the Texans went 4-12. In a quarterback-driven league, wins and losses fall on the quarterback's shoulders, especially when they fall that far under .500.

While the statistics are good, the NFL is about winning football games. Even if he's not rusty in 2022 and finds a way to beat the pressure, his last look on the field was with a losing team. As such, it would take a miracle for the Browns to get a 2019 version of Watson after nearly two years of inaction, combined with all of the distractions.

Edited by Windy Goodloe


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