BEREA, Ohio — When Jacoby Brissett played his first regular season game for the Browns this season, he was emotional and grateful. In the subsequent weeks, the record has not gone on to reflect the efforts of the veteran quarterback—but with the final week of being the Browns starter upon him—he's nowhere near done giving it his all.
Brissett isn't ready to talk too much about his time with the Browns or reflect on his time starting under center and for good reason—he's got one more game to prepare for.
As the quarterback preps for the Buccaneers, he's keeping the same goal he's had all season, even though it wasn't panned out as often as he would have hoped.
"Another game. Try to go out there, play good football and try to get a win," Brissett said. "Obviously I envisioned us winning more games. But we didn’t, we haven’t so far. But like I said, we’ve got another opportunity to go out there and get the win this week."
When Brissett came to Cleveland, he understood the role being asked of him. Prepare to be the starter if, and for as long as, quarterback Deshaun Watson was suspended. When he found out that would be an 11-game suspension, the workload and responsibilities increased.
Reflecting a few weeks ago, Brissett said Week 13 when Watson was slated to return, was not on his calendar.
"It's more so the journey of this year rather than the end destination. I've enjoyed every week. It's been like a kid again in being able to go out there and play football and do what I love to do," Brissett said in a sit-down interview ahead of the Halloween night Bengals game.
Now, with the calendar flipped to the month and the week drawing near, Brissett still doesn't have that day marked.
Instead, he's gearing up to work with his offensive linemen to make sure there aren't any exchange issues with new centers stepping in after Ethan Pocic's injury. He's working on letting his strong connection with Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones shine on Sunday. He's honing in on getting his tight ends up to speed and negating the drops issues of last week.
Meanwhile, his teammates are full of praise in what poses to be a meaningful week for Brissett, even if he's not ready to talk about it yet.
"He’s done a great job. He’s been solid with his leadership and the way he communicates with the team. He’s able to get them together and to not only talk about football, but talk about the bigger picture of this team and this program and he’s able to convey his messages in a great way," said linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. "A leader leads not only when you’re winning but also when you’re having some down moments, and he’s able to do that."
With Brissett having a career year (through the limited season he's set to play), throwing 213-311 for 2,398 yards and 11 touchdowns, his head coach has not been surprised to see him succeed.
"He's performed how we thought he would in that role but more than that, he's provided outstanding leadership," Kevin Stefanski said.
And Brissett feels the same way.
"I signed up for this, I knew what I was getting myself into, I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy task. I didn’t sign up for easy, I wasn’t brought here for easy. And I knew I was the right person for it, and I still believe that I am. I think I’ve shown that. So, yeah, excited for this one," Brissett said. "I don’t think I should be commended on doing my job and doing what I’m supposed to do and what I told myself and everybody else that I was going to do."
So as the memories of winning in Charlotte and in the primetime matchups no doubt cross his mind throughout the week, those thoughts will have to wait until Brissett and his Browns are finished with their game against the Buccaneers—and hopefully sending the backup quarterback, who has become so much more than that, off with a win.
"I remember saying this in the beginning of the year, this has been a journey that I’ve had to take week by week and just be present in this moment because I don’t know what’s ahead. I’ve been fortunate enough to be around this league for a long time to know that a lot of crazy things happen," Brissett said. "So I haven’t really thought about the future yet and I honestly don’t want to right now, because of how much this week means to me. And I’m just looking forward to this week."
Camryn Justice is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.
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