Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) attempts a pass during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Browns at NRG Stadium.

© Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Browns notes: Texans QB Deshaun Watson is over Browns passing on him in draft

Joel Bitonio bracing for Texans’ trio of Watt, Clowney and Mercilus

November 29, 2018
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Daryl Ruiter-Berea, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has buried the hatchet

After the Browns traded with Houston out of the 12th spot in the 2017 NFL Draft, Watson isn't upset Cleveland passed on him. He's very happy with how things turned out.

“No, I am just focused on my career and what I can do down here in Houston,” Watson said on a conference call Wednesday. “I am in a blessed position. I am happy. I am comfortable with everything that is going down in this organization and this city. I am in a happy spot.”

Watson enjoyed last season’s 33-17 win over the Browns that saw him complete 17 of 29 passes for 225 yards with three touchdowns and an interception but he sees a different team this time around.

“I just feel like the biggest difference is confidence and the energy,” Watson said. “Everyone believes on that team. Last year, I felt like they had confidence, but the energy was not there. Now, they have a lot of energy and hope in the organization that they can be successful, and everyone is on the same page. They have been winning games and have been successful.”

Watson has the Texans rolling.

They’re the first team in NFL history to win eight straight games following an 0-3 start and they look to make it nine in a row this Sunday against the Browns.

“Everyone just looked in the mirror and got tired of losing,” Watson said of their turnaround. “We have no losers in this organization. Everyone had to really take another step and try to get better. We just took advantage of the little things, making sure that we are all playing complementary football and try to pull these games out. They are going our way.”

Texans’ trio – After getting a break the last few weeks facing lower ranked defenses, the level of competition increases this week for the Browns offensive line.

Led by J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus, Houston ranks in the top 10 in points allowed (5), yards allowed (8) and run defense (7).

“This is the best group we will have faced probably overall all year,” left guard Joel Bitonio said. “They can do it in the run. They can do it in the pass. The tough thing about them is with Watt, Clowney and Mercilus and their big guys inside, a lot of them kind of have free reign to do what they want.”

Watt, who has racked up 11.5 sacks, 19 quarterback hits, 13 tackles for loss two pass break-ups and five forced fumbles this season, is the toughest challenge.

“He will take himself out of his gap and make a play in the backfield,” Bitonio said. “He is such a big, powerful guy that you think that he is going to want to try to run you over, but then he will hit you with a quick move, a quick swim.

“They are a talented group. It is definitely going to be a good test for us.”

Backup plan – Rookie offensive lineman Austin Corbett, who played two snaps against the Bengals, suffered a foot injury after getting stepped on Sunday in Cincinnati leaving the Browns without a backup center during practice this week.

“Right now, I am trying to limit the reps with Bob Wylie, but we are moving other guys in there,” Williams joked. “Bob got a little fatigued today.”

Williams declined to elaborate on the severity of Corbett’s injury. 

“We are just going to take it day by day, and we will see,” Williams said.

Starting center JC Tretter continues to take Wednesday and Thursday practices off after suffering a high ankle sprain in a 38-14 loss Oct. 14 to the Chargers but he’s not missed a game.

Condolences – Williams opened his Wednesday press conference by offering condolences to the Houston Texans and family of late-owner Bob McNair, who passed away last week.

“I just want to say on behalf of Dee and Jimmy Haslam and the entire Cleveland Browns organization, we want to offer our condolences to the Texans and the McNair family on the passing of Mr. McNair. We know it has been a tough week for the City of Houston. He loved football, he loved that city and he loved his family. Cleveland fans know far too well what it is like for a city to lose an NFL team and then get one back. What Mr. McNair did for that community of Houston by bringing an NFL football team back to the region was very noble, and the people of that city greatly appreciate what he did. The NFL will miss Mr. McNair.

“I was the head coach of the Bills when they came back to Houston, and I was on that staff and team that left Houston and had lived there for quite a while. I had two children of my own that were born there in Houston that means a lot to them, and I get a chance to see them this weekend when they come back into town for the game down there where they grew up, part of their family. It is never easy, but I wanted to make sure that the people of Houston and our city understood Mr. McNair will be missed.”

Injury report – DNP: C JC Tretter (ankle), OL Austin Corbett (foot)

Limited: TE David Njoku (knee)

Full: TE Seth DeValve (calf), DT Larry Ogunjobi (shoulder), LB Tanner Vallejo (knee), DB Tavierre Thomas (abdomen)