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Could Jacoby Brissett keep the starting job after Deshaun Watson returns?

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If Cowboys owner Jerry Jones can muse about Cooper Rush possibly playing well enough to keep Dak Prescott on the sidelines, why wouldn’t the Browns consider a similar possibility?

Jacoby Brissett is playing well, through three games. The Browns have compiled a 2-1 record. (They would have been 3-0 had they managed the clock better at the end of Sunday’s game against the Jets.) How many wins in the next eight games does Brissett need to create the same kind of dilemma that Jones appears to be trying in existence to speak in Dallas?

With two wins on the bench, a 4-4 mark over the remaining games that Deshaun Watson will miss would put them at 6-5. Win five out of eight, and they would be 7-4. Go 6-2, and the Browns would be 8-3 after 11 games.

He then travels to Atlanta for the Browns to take on the Falcons. After that, it’s consecutive home games against the Chargers and Patriots. Week seven, with the Ravens. Week eight, the Bengals on Monday night football. After a goodbye, it’s in Miami, with the Bills, and a visit from the Bucs.

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That game three prior to Watson’s return will make it easier to turn to Watson, as it’s very possible the Browns will face a three-game loss streak when week 13 rolls around. But what if Brissett wins one or two of those games? What if the Browns are 7-4 or 8-3?

What’s in the team’s best interest, holding on to the hot hand or putting in a quarterback who will have been exactly 700 days between regular season games?

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Peter King said on Friday: PFT Live that, in August, Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said Watson will absolutely start when his suspension ends. Hopefully the Browns will be a little more flexible and strategic than that. Hopefully they won’t turn to Watson simply because they gave up so much to get him, and because they went through so much scrutiny to have him on the team.

It may not be a problem. The Browns could be 5-6 or worse after 11 games, making Watson’s return a no-brainer. At some point, however, it shouldn’t be automatic for Watson to become the starter, not after missing so much time.

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