The Cleveland Browns saw firsthand how quickly things can go south when forced to play your backup quarterback on Sunday. Thankfully, head coach Kevin Stefanski had good news about QB Deshaun Watson's timetable to return to the lineup.
“We took it day by day. Obviously, he did not feel comfortable to be the player we need him to be.” Stefanski said about Watson, per The Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot. Cleveland's franchise quarterback sat out the team's 28-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens because of an injury to his right shoulder. “He's very disappointed, he wanted to go badly. But he just did not feel like he could go.”
Stefanski, however, did reveal that he expects Watson to be ready to play the team's next game on October 15th against the San Francisco 49ers. The Browns have their bye in Week 5.
In place of Watson, the Browns gave Dorian Thompson-Robinson the start on Sunday. The 2023 fifth-round draft choice struggled mightily despite facing a Ravens team that has been ravaged by injuries, particularly in the secondary.
Thompson-Robinson, who won the team's backup QB job in training camp, finished the loss 19-of-36 for 121 yards and three interceptions. He was also sacked four times and fumbled once, although the Browns were able to recover the ball.
The injury to Watson came during his best game of the season, a 27-3 beatdown of the Tennessee Titans in Week 3. Watson threw for more yards with a better completion percentage in that game, while avoiding any interceptions.
The Browns will need Watson when facing the 49ers. San Francisco is 4-0 to start the season, and they've been winning easily. Only one of those four wins was a one-possession game, and the Niners have scored 30+ points in every game.
Thompson-Robinson proved he's not yet ready to helm this offense. It will have to be Watson if the Browns are thinking of a return trip to the postseason.