Joel Bitonio Foresees Offensive Potential With Deshaun Watson

Denver Broncos v Cleveland Browns

CLEVELAND, OHIO - OCTOBER 21: Guard Joel Bitonio #75 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after the Browns defeated the Denver Broncos at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 21, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio.Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

On takeaways from playing with QB Deshaun Watson the past six games heading into the 2023 season:

“I think we saw glimpses of what we can be with his ability to really make a big pass when we need it and get out the sacks. It also opens up the run game for (RB) Nick Chubb. The last couple of weeks, we haven’t give him the ball as much, but his efficiency has been a lot better run and pass for Nick. You see all of those things where the goal is to maximize the offense for everybody in it. if that is spreading him out and letting Nick run in six and seven-man boxes instead of eight or nine-man boxes, I think it is a great advantage for us. I think you saw glimpses of what we can do in the second half of Washington and some of touchdown drives we had yesterday. Obviously, there are things we need to work on. I think we have to understand the scramble drill a little bit better. We have to understand our protection, how he is going to move out the pocket and things like that. I think you saw glimpses of what could be good.”

On if the 2022 campaign felt like having two seasons in one due to the transition at starting QB to Watson from QB Jacoby Brissett:

“I don’t know about two seasons in one, but there definitely is a distinct difference in it. You play with a guy like Jacoby, who was kind of the starting quarterback from the start of camp just with just the reps he got and all of the things that we got of him, and then Deshaun comes in and we understand how talented of a player he is. Different styles of play. The offense had to figure it out, and I think we are still figuring that out, but we got six games under our belt of what can work, what can’t work and what we need to do better. It is something we will have all offseason to really figure it out.”

On his approach as the Browns have only recorded one winning season during his career:

“I really take it one year at a time. That is my overall record. When you look back on it, there has been a lot less successful seasons than successful seasons. For me, I will look at big picture for myself, like what I want to do to get better, how I want to take that next step in my game because there is always room to improve. Big picture thing, like what can we do for this team next year? I don’t really look back on 2016 or 2017. That is really not going to affect us this year. It is tough. You would rather win games than lose games, and I want to win. Finish my career out with some winning records would be great. That is kind of my process.”

On expectations for what the Browns offense will look like next season:

“I think you are going to see more early down passing and more spread approaches. That doesn’t mean we are not going to run the ball or get the ball in Nick’s hand because he is one of our best playmakers, if not our best. You are going to see things like that. I think if it is working to our level, you are going to have a lot less third-and-longs. You are going to have second-and-shorts or third-and-shorts that are a lot more convertible than those third-and-longs. I think it is just an efficient way to do things. I think as an O line, we want to protect better than yesterday and we want to see the ball out of Deshaun’s hands quicker, as well. It is just a combination of things. It is one of those things. You are going to see that spread. You are going to see us still take shots on play-action. You will still see a few of our touchdowns have been off of play-action passes and stuff like that with Deshaun. They are all still capable. We are still able to run the ball and bully people. At the end of the day, it would be great if you can get them in six-man boxes because then we can ran the ball with Nick because I think he will be even more dangerous if we can do that.”

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