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Kevin Stefanski: We won't speed up Deshaun Watson's rehab just to get the offense sped up

Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson said recently that he's confident that his throwing shoulder will be ready for Week 1.

At the start of the offseason program, Cleveland is in no rush to get him there.

Head coach Kevin Stefanski said in his Tuesday press conference that Watson and the medical team have a "very, very good plan" to get the quarterback ramped up. Watson underwent season-ending surgery on his right shoulder midway through 2023.

"He’s doing all the things he’s supposed to be doing when it comes to rehab," Stefanski said. "So, when it gets to those points in OTAs and minicamp, we’ll go with what’s suggested by the medical team. But he's doing a great job."

The Browns are implementing a revamped offensive scheme with new coordinator Ken Dorsey, which does raise the importance of Watson's availability. But Stefanski noted that's not going to affect how they approach Watson's rehab.

"I think that’s our job, is to put the system together with the players in mind," Stefanski said. "And, obviously, we’ll make sure that we are smart about Deshaun’s rehab and focus on getting him ready for the season. And when he’s ready to contribute in practice, he’ll be out there based on what the medical staff tells us.

"Now, having said that, we're putting the system together, we're full speed ahead in these meeting rooms. And when we get out on that practice field, we’ll constantly be trying to get better as an offense. But we’re not going to speed Deshaun up just to get the offense sped up."

To that end, Cleveland has Jameis Winston on the roster as the team's primary backup. Tyler Huntley and Dorian Thompson-Robinson are also with the club, though Stefanski mentioned Thompson-Robinson is still rehabbing the hip injury he suffered during the 2023 season.

“We’ll try to do whatever's appropriate,” Stefanski said on distributing practice reps. “For me, that's leaning on the medical staff and Deshaun, and making sure we have a plan, and we’ll stick to it — obviously, with constant communication between all parties. If there’s days where now it’s next man up, Jameis will get some more throws — which I think is great for him as well. But we’ll really work all of that out as we get into those days.”

In six games last season, Watson completed 61 percent of his passes for 1,115 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions. He also rushed for 142 yards with a TD.