Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will not be active against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday due to an injury to his throwing shoulder, per team sources. Here’s what you need to know:
- With Watson out, rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson — a fifth-round pick out of UCLA who had a strong preseason — will make his first career start.
- The Ravens’ defense will now face a QB with a strong running ability. Baltimore spent some time watching Thompson-Robinson on film over the weekend from the preseason to see how he handles four-man rushes.
- Since 1999, Browns rookie quarterbacks making their starting debut are a combined 0-11 with nine passing touchdowns and 14 interceptions in those games. No Cleveland rookie QB has won his starting debut since Eric Zeier in 1995 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
- Browns tight end David Njoku, who has burns on his arms and face from a fire pit accident, will play against the Ravens, per a team source. The team was concerned about his comfort in wearing a helmet rubbing against the burns.
The Athletic’s instant analysis:
Browns’ plans with Thompson-Robinson at QB
With Thompson-Robinson starting Sunday, P.J. Walker will be the backup. Wide receiver Elijah Moore is the emergency player who’s most likely to line up at quarterback in wildcat sets or throw the ball on trick plays.
Thompson-Robinson had never thrown to the Browns’ starting pass-catchers until this week. Joshua Dobbs was the No. 2 quarterback through the spring and summer before the Browns traded him to the Cardinals in late August. Thompson-Robinson’s impressive preseason showing gave the Browns enough confidence in him to make the fifth-round rookie their backup. — Jackson
Watson took a big shot in the third quarter against the Tennessee Titans in Week 3, but it’s unclear whether it was one hit or an accumulation of hits. He finished the game against the Titans, completing 27 of 33 passes for 289 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
In a 20-or-so-minute early warmup period Sunday, there wasn’t much to see from the quarterback. Watson stretched, jogged and made a handful of throws with Browns coach Kevin Stefanski, offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt and general manager Andrew Berry watching. But there was no extended throwing period, and after Watson huddled with Stefanski and Berry briefly, Stefanski and Berry left the field.
Watson was listed as a limited practice participant all week but only made a handful of throws.
(Photo: Cooper Neill / Getty Images)